Aroldis Chapman cleared to throw live batting practice

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Aroldis Chapman’s recovery from facial fractures has progressed to the point that the Reds left-hander has been cleared to throw live batting practice, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

His expected return date has always been pegged as mid-May, but it’s possible Chapman might be somewhat ahead of that schedule one day short of a month since he was hit by a line drive. Either way, it’s good news.

Chapman threw a 25-pitch bullpen session earlier this week, but obviously given the nature of his injury actually facing live hitters is potentially a very big hurdle to clear next. Cincinnati’s bullpen has struggled in his absence, posting a 5.18 ERA that ranks second worst in the league ahead of only Philadelphia.