It's always a scary scene when a player gets hit by a pitch, but Wednesday night's game between the Reds and Royals may have set the standard for frightening moments. In the sixth inning of Wednesdays' Spring Training game in Arizona, Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman was stretchered off the field after being struck in the face by a line drive.
Chapman, traditionally the Reds closer, entered the game in the bottom of the sixth and trailing by a 5-3 score. He was already struggling through the inning, giving up a hit and four walks, when disaster hit. Royals catcher Salvador Perez stepped to the plate with an 0-2 count and returned a 99 MPH fastball directly to Chapman's face. He immediately collapsed to the field, as a run scored on the play. There was a 12-minute delay while coaches and medical staff tended to the pitcher, before the decision was made to call the game. Reds manager Bryan Price offered a few words after the game regarding his closer.
He never lost consciousness. He was able to communicate. He was able to move his hands, feet, his legs. I'm not a doctor, I don't want to go much further than that. It got him pretty flush just above the left eye is what it looks like. A contusion, a laceration, and certainly needs to be taken to the hospital and checked out.
Trainers from both clubs raced onto the field to give help to Chapman, who was face-down on the mound, as the Surprise Stadium crowd watched on in complete silence. After several minutes, he was placed on a stretcher and carried off by a medical cart as fans began to offer their support and applause. Reds right fielder Jay Bruce was in complete shock over the situation.
It was the most frightening thing I've ever been a part of. I never got close enough to see it. The way it was explained, as hard as he throws and as hard as that ball was hit of the bat, we're hoping for the best.
Home plate umpire Chris Guccione, along with the umpire crew, decided for everybody's saftey and best interests to call the game and focus on Chapman. The Royals were also shaken up by what happened and according to a team spokesman, decided not to discuss it publicly.
After being taken to a nearby medical facility, it was indicated that he had suffered fractures above his left eye and nose. He was transferred to another facility, where he was scheduled to undergo more testing and be kept overnight for observation.
Officially, the Royals picked up a 6-3 win, but it was in the midst of a glaring reminder of how dangerous this game can truly be.