The Cincinnati Reds are giving closer Aroldis Chapman a few days off to rest his tired shoulder.
Chapman, who routinely throws his fastball more than 100 mph, struggled with his velocity and command in Monday’s 14-inning game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The All-Star threw 7 of his 23 pitches for strikes and averaged a season-low 94.4 miles per hour on his fastball.
Chapman walked 3 of the 5 batters he faced in the 10th inning and needed to be taken out during an inning for the 1st time this season. After, he was examined and diagnosed as having a beat shoulder.
Chapman moved into the closer’s role this season for the 1st time in his career. He has made a career-high 64 appearances, changing 35 of 40 saves with a 1.60 ERA and 199 strikeouts.
“We’re lucky we got him to this point,” Baker related. “When you throw 100 mph, you’re sure to tweak something sooner or later. He’s at a level he’s never reached before. This is another step in learning the way to be a closer.”
The Cincinnati Reds needed a closer after Ryan Madson tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in the spring training. Left-hander Sean Marshall got the first opportunity to win the job and struggled.
Chapman set a club record when he did not allow an earned run in his first 24 appearances of the season. He moved into the closer’s role on May 20 after Baker gave him time to ease into late-inning pressure situations.
Chapman had a club-record streak of 27 consecutive saves broken on Friday when he gave up 3 runs in a 5-3 loss to Houston, his fastball had its usual zip in that game. NFL odds
The closer announced Tuesday that he’s felt no pain in the shoulder.
“It is a tiny fatigued,” Chapman announced, with a trainer translating. “I stared to feel it a couple of games back. I just wasn’t myself. It’s nothing major. There isn’t anything wrong. I just feel weak.
“I think in 5 days or a week I should be ready.”
Jonathan Broxton, acquired from Kansas City at the trade deadline, could take over the job to get the save possibilities for the Cincinnati Reds the next couple days while Chapman rests.
Baker asserted the club is watching Chapman closely as he learns how to pace himself in workouts between appearances.
“We monitored him as closely as we monitor anybody,” Baker declared. “He’s still learning the role and the way to handle the workload off the field. You do not want to wear yourself out training, but you wish to train some, the guy works hard.”