Is Aroldis Chapman pitching hurt? Is he already being overworked? Cincinnati Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez seems to be concerned.
During the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat to the San Diego Padres, Hernandez called pitching coach Bryan Price and trainer Paul Lessard to the mound after noticing the flamethrower’s velocity was way down.
This is what Hernandez told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“Yesterday, he threw what 93, 94″,” Hernandez said. “Then today, he’s throwing 91. He’s throws almost 100 over every pitch. Now, he can’t get up to 93. There’s got to be something. You can’t lose it in one day.”
A guy who threw a record 105-mph fastball last season suddenly unable to reach 93? Cue the alarm bells, right? Maybe not.
Chapman faced just two batters, allowing a walk and committing an error. He was removed after he recorded his lone out. But manager Dusty Baker said that was just a precaution, stating “he said he was OK, but that’s Cuban baseball.”
Hernandez also chalked it up to a young guy trying to be tough and pitch through pain and fatigue. He said he spoke to the 23-year-old pitcher, who was pitching for the fourth time in five days, and advised him that it can be better to miss a couple days then suffer an injury that puts him out of action for a longer stretch of time.
“He’s got a lot of stress …,” Hernandez told Fay, “I think he’s going to be OK.”
Reds fans certainly hope so.