Reds closer Aroldis Chapman faces live hitters, is 'electrifying'

Thursday April 24th, 2014

Aroldis Chapman (Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Aroldis Chapman had 38 saves each of the last two seasons with a combined 2.03 ERA. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, who was hit in the head by a line drive during spring training, faced live hitters for the first time since the injury on Wednesday before Cincinnati's game in Pittsburgh.

"He was attacking the strike zone," catcher Brayan Pena — one of the batters Chapman faced —told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "His fastball was electrifying. It was exciting to see him go back there. His confidence was very good. That was a great sign."

Video of the session can be seen here.

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The 25-year-old Cuban native, known for his 100 mph fastballs, suffered fractures near his eye and to his nose in the scare on March 19. He was also diagnosed with a mild concussion.

Chapman threw 27 pitches during early batting practice on Wednesday from behind a protective screen. He is scheduled to throw batting practice again this weekend in Atlanta, without the screen.

"I felt pretty good," Chapman said. "I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. I just felt very good."

Added Reds manager Bryan Price: "He threw all his pitches. He was very sharp, good velocity. Good slider, good changeup. Looked like midseason form."

Chapman recorded 38 saves and five blown saves in 68 appearances in both of his last two seasons.

Jonathan Broxton has filled in for Chapman, saving three games in four appearances.

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