Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman throws against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010, in Cincinnati. Chapman was making his major league debut. Cincinnati won 8-4. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
The Sporting News
Reds' Aroldis Chapman debuts with four pitches topping 100 mph
* PUBLISHED Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 at 12:13 am EDT
Left-hander Aroldis Chapman's major league debut Tuesday produced eye-popping numbers -- namely, a 103-mph fastball on the radar gun. Chapman, a Cuban defector, pitched one perfect inning for the Cincinnati Reds against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chapman joined the team at Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark after being recalled from Class AAA Louisville, where he had hit 105 mph on Friday.
He entered the game in the eighth inning with the Reds up 8-3. Cincinnati eventually won 8-4 to increase their NL Central lead to seven games over the St. Louis Cardinals.
By bringing up Chapman, 22, on Tuesday, the Reds made him eligible for postseason play.
Chapman unleashed a 102-mph heater on his third pitch to leadoff man Jonathan Lucroy. He then struck Lucroy out on an 86 mph slider. Chapman finished the inning by getting groundouts from shortstop Craig Counsell -- on a 103 mph fastball -- and pinch hitter Carlos Gomez. Of his eight pitches, four were at least 100 mph.
He walked off the field to a standing ovation from the crowd of less than 20,000.
"There's not a whole lot of guys like him, if any," said Reds pitcher Sam LeCure, who was his teammate at Louisville. After a moment's pause, LeCure said, "There's none."
The next test for Chapman will be how he responds during the pressure of September.
"I think he can handle it," manager Dusty Baker told The Associated Press. "Because if you can handle pitching for food, you can certainly handle pitching here."
The Reds signed Chapman to a six-year, $30.25 million deal in January, expecting him to join the rotation at some point during the season. They moved him to the bullpen last month because their rotation is full.
Chapman hit 101 mph on scouts' radar guns in spring training. He didn't allow a hit in his last eight appearances out of the Louisville bullpen, dominating hitters who couldn't catch up with the fastball or handle the slider and changeup that go with it.
Associated Press: LHP Chapman hits 102 mph in debut
MLB.com: Chapman electrifying in dominant debut
Aroldis Chapman MLB Debut
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