Cincinnati is about to get its fireballing closer back.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi was told Tuesday that left-hander Aroldis Chapman, who has been on the shelf since taking a comebacker off his face in a mid-March Cactus League game, could “return to the Reds’ active roster as early as this weekend.”
Chapman hit 101 mph with his fastball in his rehab debut last Thursday at Low-A Dayton and displayed no obvious shyness on the mound. His minor league rehab assignment is moving to Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday, where he’s slate for two or three outings.
Chapman, 26, owns a 2.40 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 324 strikeouts in his first 198 2/3 major league innings.
The Reds enter play Tuesday with a 15-16 record and six-game deficit in the NL Central standings.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.