Aroldis Chapman is currently getting a bit of a break due to a fatigued left shoulder, but he’s confident he’ll be blowing away opposing batters again real soon.
According to Christina De Nicola of MLB.com, Chapman said he felt “a lot better” after making 40 throws earlier today while playing long toss from a distance of 40-50 feet. He hopes to return “in a few more days.”
The Reds decided to shut Chapman down this week after he showed diminished velocity while walking three of the five batters he faced on Monday against the Pirates. This was one appearance after he blew a save against the Astros last Friday by giving up four hits, including a three-run homer to Matt Dominguez.
Chapman said he has dealt with fatigue multiple times in his career and chalks it up to a matter of conditioning.
“There’s a long season and sometimes you forget about continuing to do some exercises and you get fatigued,” Chapman said.
Chapman has an incredible 1.60 ERA and 119/20 K/BB ratio over 67 2/3 innings this season and is currently tied with Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel for the National League lead with 35 saves. The Reds opened play tonight with an 11-game lead in the National League Central, so they have the luxury of resting him until he’s right.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.