When one thinks baseball, it’s not often that “freak injury” comes to mind. Well, just last Wednesday that is exactly what happened. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman, one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the league, had his fastball hit straight back into his face. The impact shattered the bone above his left eye. Almost everyone ran to the pitcher’s mound to see what the damage had been, but Chapman was unresponsive. He was rolling and jerking on the ground before emergency vehicles finally showed up to carry him to the hospital.
The Cincinnati Reds pitcher was participating in a spring training game against the Royals when the incident happened. The ball came off the bat of Salvador Perez in the 6th inning of the game. Chapman was immediately rushed into surgery to fix the bone above his eye. A metal plate was inserted into his head to steady the pain. The surgery went very well and, miraculously, Chapman’s only other injury was a mild concussion. He is expected to begin throwing a baseball in two weeks and will be able to play in about a month.
Chapman had this to say to his supporters via Twitter: “My fans, everything is fine, thanks to God we are already out of any kind of trouble. I’m here waiting for them to give me my release.” He followed up that tweet with another tweet, a picture of the staples in his head where the plate was inserted.
The incident has hit on recent debate of protecting pitchers from similar injuries. This past year, the MLB reached a decision to make protective caps available to pitchers in the upcoming season. The caps will be optional and have not yet been made available, but they are expected to be available soon.