If you ever thought about becoming a baseball pitcher than you don’t want to hear about what happened to Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman.
During a spring training game with the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night the hard throwing Chapman was struck in the face by a line drive hit by Salvador Perez. He immediately went down and was tended to on the field before being taken off on a cart and transported to the local hospital.
How hard was the hit? Well–when you consider that the pitch was a 99 mph fast ball hit directly back at him (so it was pretty hard).
“Not good,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He left the field on a stretcher, took a line drive just above his left eye is what it looks like — a contusion, a laceration, and certainly needs to be taken to the hospital and checked. We’ve got Tomas Vera, an assistant trainer, is going to be with him. And then we’ll get our updates from there.”
Chapman ended up suffering broken bones around his left eye and nose. He was taken to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center where he was kept overnight for observation.
The incident is likely going to reignite debate over how to better protect pitchers during games. With the speed that hit balls typically travel it is close to impossible for them to move when a ball is hit in their direction. Last season Tampa Bay pitcher Alex Cobb was hit by a pitch as was Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ. Both had to be taken to the hospital.
As harsh as these injuries are exactly what MLB can do or should remains to be seen. Any kind of helmet will affect how a pitcher throws, and no one wants to do anything that could affect the outcome of games. These sorts of pitches are also few and far between. Of the roughly 700,000 pitches thrown a season only one in every 300,000 are hit back at the pitcher (Forbes).
Even though these incidents are not common it is something that the league needs to at least look in to for no other reason than to keep anyone else’s family from having to see this happen: