Reds closer Aroldis Chapman threw 25 pitches during batting practice on Tuesday, passing the final test before he can begin a rehabilitation stint in the minors.
Chapman likely will pitch at Class A Dayton on Thursday in his first time in a game since suffering a head injury. He’s hoping to be activated after four or five appearances in the minors.
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"It went very good," Chapman said, with trainer Tomas Vera translating. "All my pitches were the way I wanted."
The left-hander was hit on the forehead by a line drive during a spring training game in Arizona on March 19. He had a plate inserted above his left eye and nose to help fractures heal. Chapman was one of eight Reds who opened the season on the disabled list, the most in the majors.
Jonathan Broxton is closing games in his absence.
Chapman has thrown batting practice without a protective screen. He said there’s no concern when he sees a batter hit one of his pitches.
"I feel normal," he said. "I feel the way I was before I got hit with the ball."
Manager Bryan Price thinks Chapman needs only a few games in the minors to get ready for his return. Chapman suggested four or five would be sufficient.
Chapman threw the equivalent of one inning to Reds hitters, working more on his changeup and slider.
"I know I have the fastball," he said. "I’m feeling I have the fastball. I’m working with the breaking pitches."
Outfielder Roger Bernadina saw a couple of fastballs at the outset from Chapman and couldn’t connect.