The Cincinnati Reds will be without a key member of their pitching staff as Aroldis Chapman is slated miss anywhere from 6-8 weeks after taking a line drive off his face in a game on Wednesday against the Royals.
Salvador Perez hit a line drive up the middle that struck Chapman on the left side of his face before he could even react to the play. He was carted off the field and the game was called shortly there after. It was revealed later that he suffered fractures to his left eye and nose, as well as a mild concussion.
Team doctor, Tim Kremchek, said Thursday that Chapman would have a metal plate inserted on the bone above his left eyebrow.The timetable for him to resume throwing could be in the next few weeks, but his return is likely to be towards the end of May.
Cincinnati is already struggling to keep its pitchers healthy as Johnny Cueto (shoulder), Mat Latos (knee), Homer Bailey (groin),Sean Marshall (shoulder), and Jonathan Broxton (forearm) have all battled injuries this spring. It was a spring training injury that secured the closer's role for Chapman originally in 2012 when Ryan Madson failed to throw a pitch in a Reds uniform before undergoing Tommy John Surgery. In both seasons as a full-time closer, he has posted 38 saves in 43 opportunities and has 234 strikeouts in 135.2 innings over the last two years.
The Reds will now have to rely on Broxton, Marshall, J.J. Hoover, or Sam LeCure to fill the closer's role. Broxton easily has the most career saves of the bunch with 111 followed by Marshall (16), Hoover (4) and LeCure (1). Alfredo Simon has 19 career saves, but will most likely be the Reds long reliever,while Logan Ondrusek has four career saves.
Whoever it is will have to be ready by March 31 when the St. Louis Cardinals head to the Queen City for Opening Day.