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Is Aroldis Chapman’s drop in velocity cause for concern?

Apr 14, 2011, 3:06 AM EDT


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.

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  1. visnovsky - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    Dusty Baker=Young Ruined Pitcher. Dusty has no clue how to handle young pitchers. the key wording of this article “for the fourth time in five days”. Baker is an idiot when it comes to handling a pitching staff.

    • kmgannon - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:24 AM

      Kerry Wood and Mark Prior agree heartily with this post.

      • whodeydan - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:27 PM

        Know anything about pitching mechanics??

        Mark Prior was a elbow above shoulder scap loader which is a huge cause for arm issues and Kerry Wood threw 3 feet across his body. Dusty might have overworked them, but their mechanics were the real cause of both of their injuries. Kerry Wood had the worst mechanics of any young pitcher in baseball at the time he was striking out 20 batters.

        Now if you want to throw him under the bus for not getting mechanics fixed or more arm friendly, then fine. But he didn’t ruin those 2 arms.

  2. banksatdixie - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    How many young arms does he have to destroy before people stop thinking he is a capable manager?

  3. thefalcon123 - Apr 14, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Dusty Baker is the biggest moron managing a team in baseball today, but it’s kind of absurd to accuse him of destroying Chapman’s arm after a whopping total of 18 career innings (5+ this year). If Baker can destroy his arm in 18 innings, it wasn’t gonna last very long anyway.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM


    • banksatdixie - Apr 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM

      Totally valid point, and I would totally agree with you if he hadn’t pitched in 4 of the last 5 days. Its not June. Its the second week of April. Let arms get into mid-season shape before you start putting mid-season strain on them.

  4. phukyouk - Apr 14, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    OMFG! can we please stop fu*king talking about this.. all damn season.. its old.. yes his velocity is down and hes getting his ass kicked and its… oh wait.. Chapman.. not Hughes..


  5. jamie54 - Apr 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Stress? What the heck is Hernandez talking about? It’s freaking April 14th and he’s talking about stress? Jeez man, get a clue, unless your taxes are due and you forgot to file an extension he should have absolutely no stress whatsoever. Just stupid.

  6. trevorb06 - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that he isn’t starting, therefore isn’t throwing as much, therefore has lost some arm strength and arm flexibility therefore either slowing him down or making his chances of being hurt higher when pitching more days in a row.

    • cintiphil - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      How can he start? He can not pitch more than one or two innings. We all thought he was a starter, but he relays too much on the 100+ fastball.He has good stuff and a good curve and change. However what happens to those pitches after throwing so hard for 1 plus innings? His coaches have not brought him along correctly in my opinion, but they should know more than the rest of us. They need to show hm how to pace himself for 7-8 innings and not to let it all go in the first inning or 2. That is why he is still a set up guy and perhaps a closer. He should be starting by now. Maybe he starts next year if his arm does not need surgery.

  7. myersj123 - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Jamie54, You may not know that he defected from Cuba leaving his child and his childs mother behind. I don’t think he has even got to see or hold his child. I think for me if I had not seen my child ever, that it would way on my mind a little.

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