Reds P Chapman prepares for starting rotation
Aroldis Chapman will be tested as a starter this spring by the
The 24-year old lefthander whose pitches have been clocked at
105 mph has a 6-3 record with a 3.27 ERA in 69 relief appearances
over the last two seasons with Cincinnati.
But the small-market Reds want to see if they can maximize their
uncharacteristic $30 million investment.
”We are going to stretch him out,” manager Dusty Baker said.
”We are going to see if there is enough time and he can do it. If
there isn’t enough time or quality, we can send him back to the
Chapman was supposed to pitch in the Arizona Fall League as a
starter, and then in one of the Puerto Rican winter leagues. But
shoulder soreness canceled the plan.
”We would have the answers by now,” Baker said, ”if things
went according to plan.”
Now, it’s up to the spring training results.
”I worked hard all winter to get myself mentally and physically
prepared to be a starter,” Chapman said through an interpreter.
”I have been here for 2 1-2 weeks to be prepared.”
Along the way, Chapman’s shoulder received the rest it
”I feel,” he said, ”that I’m in good shape.”
If he is unable to prove himself as a starter, Baker and the
Reds have a backup plan.
”A lot depends on how he does, but it also depends on our
needs,” the manager said. ”If he doesn’t make the rotation, we
could send him to (Triple-A) Louisville. But I wouldn’t be opposed
to having three lefthanders in our bullpen.”
Chapman had 71 strikeouts last season, and has 90 for his
”If they make the decision to put me in the bullpen,” he said,
”I will continue to work hard to prove that I can be a starter and
work all the innings they want me to.”
Chapman is the lone lefthanded candidate for the starting
rotation, but that is no guarantee that it will sway his
”You prefer a lefty in your rotation, but you want to go with
your five best starters,” Baker said. ”A good righty is better
than a bad lefty.”
Still, the Reds – as well as Chapman – are hoping for a
”One of the reasons we want him to start,” Baker said, ”is
last year, we scuffled for a starter when Johnny (Cueto) and Homer
(Bailey) were hurt.”
The Reds, a year after making the postseason, went a
disappointing 79-83 last season, finishing in third place of the
National League Central division.