Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman underwent surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries after being hit in the face by a line drive in a spring training game in Goodyear, Ariz.
Team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said Chapman could begin throwing off a mound in six to eight weeks, a timetable that could get him back in games in late May. The left-hander with a fastball that has reached 105 mph could start exercising and throwing on flat ground in a couple of weeks, Kremchek said.
The doctor called Chapman "a very lucky guy."
Kremchek said a metal plate was to be inserted in the bone above Chapman’s left eyebrow, with perhaps a bone graft as well, and will remain there permanently. Chapman has a very mild concussion but no other brain injury and no injury to his eye, Kremchek said.
"He’s feeling better and he has some pain management. We’re optimistic that he is going to be on the mend," Reds manager Bryan Price said after meeting with players Thursday morning at the team’s spring training facility. "Obviously, we’ll stay in touch. We will make sure we follow the process as we continue to get familiar with the injury itself. We will let him know how much support he has and that we care about him. Hopefully, we will see him here very soon."
The frightening incident occurred in the sixth inning of Wednesday night game at Kansas City’s spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz., when the Royals’ Salvador Perez lined Chapman’s 99 mph fastball into the pitcher’s face. Chapman was knocked backward to the ground, then rolled on his face, kicking in pain.
The ball hit Chapman in one of the most protected areas of the skull, Kremchek said.
"If you get hit in the side of the head, that could be disastrous," Kremchek said. "Where Aroldis got hit, you don’t want to say he got hit in a good spot because he’s undergoing surgery, but it could have been a lot worse, a lot more injuries, a lot more permanent. He’s very lucky."
Around the majors
Braves • Pitcher Brandon Beachy will have ligament-replacement surgery in his right elbow for the second time Friday and is expected to miss the entire season. The Braves said Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache will operate in Los Angeles. Beachy’s ulnar collateral ligament was reconstructed by Dr. James Andrews on June 21, 2012.
Tigers • Jose Iglesias will be out four to six months because of stress fractures in both legs. The shortstop was examined by Dr. Thomas Clanton, a foot and ankle specialist on Tuesday, and is scheduled to be reevaluated in four months. General manager Dave Dombrowski indicated the team is preparing to play the season without Iglesias.
Yankees • Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was sent for an MRI on Thursday of his ailing right calf. Ellsbury hasn’t played since March 14. He was scratched from Sunday’s game against Atlanta because of right calf tightness. Manager Joe Girardi said he hoped Ellsbury would play as soon as this weekend.
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