Relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman was in good spirits when he returned to the Cincinnati Reds' clubhouse in Goodyear, Ariz., on Sunday, four days after getting hit in the face with a line drive.
Better yet, he exhibited no emotional scars from the injury, which left him with fractured bones in his face and a two-month recovery period after surgery, causing him concern about a return to the mound.
"After watching the video many, many times, every time I see it I feel happy," Chapman said. "This could have been something worse. The way I feel now, I have no pain right now.
"I put a picture on Instagram. So many people around contacted me to see how I was. I couldn't contact them all so I put out the picture to let them know how good I felt."
Chapman said he was not upset that he was struck by Salvador Perez's line drive with two outs in the sixth inning during an exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. The hard-throwing left-hander from Cuba did mention that he would be changing his pitching style.
"It didn't bother me until they told me that it would be two months before I could pitch," said Chapman, who turned 26 in February. "That was what made me mad.
"It was the first time in my life that anything like that happened to me. I haven't thought about what will happen. I will have to get over it. My first thoughts are, I will have to throw more inside. I can't leave the ball out over the plate."
Chapman, who has recorded 38 saves in each of the last two seasons and has an earned-run average of 2.40 in four seasons with the Reds, will begin a throwing and conditioning program in the next two weeks. From there it has been estimated that it will be another six weeks before he returns to the lineup.
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