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Reds closer Chapman hit in face by line drive

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POSTED March 19, 2014 11:01 p.m.

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was hit in the face by a line drive Wednesday night and taken to a hospital with a cut above his left eye.

Reds manager Bryan Price said Chapman was conscious and talking as he was taken off the field during their game against the Kansas City Royals.

The game was called with Kansas City leading 6-3.

“Not good,” Price said. “He left the field on a stretcher, took a line drive just above his left eye is what it looks like — a contusion, a laceration, and certainly needs to be taken to the hospital and checked. We’ve got Tomas Vera, an assistant trainer, is going to be with him. And then we’ll get our updates from there.”

The hard-throwing left-hander was struck by Salvador Perez’s hit with two outs in the sixth inning — the pitch was clocked at 99 mph. The pitcher crumbled to the ground, face down and flailing his legs. The ball caromed into the third base dugout. Medical personnel, including Royals Dr. Vincent Key, rushed the field. Blood could be seen on the mound.

Players from both teams huddled around the mound as the 26-year-old Cuban was being attended to and the stadium became silent. An ambulance’s siren could be heard in background while Chapman was loaded onto the stretcher.

Playing right field, Reds teammate Jay Bruce heard the ball hit Chapman.

“It was one of the more frightening and non-fun moments I’ve been a part of on the baseball field,” he said.

After Chapman was driven off to the awaiting ambulance, Price and Royals manager Ned Yost met with the umpires.

“It was really a mutual agreement,” crew chief Chris Guccione said. “Players were rattled. The staff was rattled. The umpires were rattled. We figured it was best, along with both teams in agreement that the game should end.”

Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who had emergency surgery after he was struck in the head by a line drive in September 2012, urged caution in a twitter post.

“all reporting at this point means zilch, until he gets a scan,” he said in a tweet.

Chapman, who throws a 100 mph fastball, had walked four Royals in the inning before being injured.

The two-time All-Star had 38 saves for the Reds last season.

In January, Major League Baseball approved protective cap for pitchers after the occurrence of several terrifying incidents similar to this one in the last few years.

The heavier and bigger hats were available for testing during spring training on a voluntary basis but the cap apparently would not have helped Chapman in this case.

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