Aroldis Chapman was forced to leave an exhibition game on Monday, March 22, versus the Colorado Rockies with what my best friend and mentor, Hal McCoy, described as, "a twinge in his back, or stiffness in his back, or tightness in his back."
Either way, the Cuban flame thrower has a sore back.
The band Alkaline Trio once sang, "When you're only 23 it's not attractive to complain about your sore back."
For Reds' fans the news is less than "attractive"; in fact, it's just plain scary.
Scary like a six-year-old forced to watch a 36-hour marathon of the all-time greatest horror movies while a strange meat-cleaver-wielding-man roams the back yard.
Not only has Chapman been the Reds biggest surprise out of Goodyear, he has not very arguably been the best looking pitcher on the staff.
That all changed on Monday when his scheduled four inning appearance was cut short after allowing four runs in 1.2 innings.
From the get-go Reds' pitching coach, Bryan Price, could tell something was amiss.
“I didn’t think he was attacking hitters. He was trying to get guys out with his change-up and sliders and I wanted to remind him, ‘You have a good fastball. Use it.’”
Why wasn't he using his fastball? If one were explaining to a second grader they may say something like, "His fastball was not fast."
Usually clocked at or near triple digits, the cheese was humming the gun at around 93 or 94 MPH.
For most pitchers that's a top-notch heater.
Chapman is not "most pitchers."
Reds' skipper Dusty Baker is saying everything you would expect him to say.
And Baker does have a mythological reputation of ruining young arms.
So to Reds' fans his excuses sound more like, "Chapman will die later this month thanks to an inoperable cancer."
Seriously though, let's just take the news in stride and wait until the end of the week for doctors to confirm that Chapman will never throw a baseball again.
No, no—optimism, optimism!
Bad backs happen. Maybe he just slept awkwardly.
After all, it's doubtful they have many Serta mattresses in Cuba. So maybe he's still getting used to his new bed.
Given that the Reds' are a small-market team who just paid $30 million for Chapman's services over the next six years they, understandably, will be extra cautious with the young man.
So, while it may be true that, "When you're only 23 it's not attractive to complain about your sore back."
Reds' fans should remember that Aroldis Chapman is still is only 22.