It's an awful shame to see Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Champman be injured Wednesday night when he was hit in the face by a line drive in a spring training game.
Champman laid on the ground for about 10 minutes after being struck. The ball broke his nose and fractured the bones around his eye. Fortunately it seems that the wounds are not life threatening. The Reds say Champman never lost consciousness but that he was kept in the hospital overnight.
There is no word if Chapman suffered any permanent damage to his eye. But that's a real and a very scary consideration. It was a similar type of injury that ended the career of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Juan Encarnacion.
Standing in the on deck circle, Encarnacion was struck in the face by a foul ball. His orbital bone was fractured and he lost vision in an eye which didn't allow him to continue his career.
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While Chapman doesn't need the razor-sharp vision of a major league hitter, he does need to see well enough to be able to protect himself on the mound.
The other question about this sort of injury is how Chapman will handle it mentally. He's a guy who throws hard and leaves himself in a prone position after he releases the ball. Will he be able to pitch like he has in the past or will fear of being hit again affect his mechanics?
Here's to hoping that Chapman makes a full, speedy recovery. The Cardinals and Reds may be bitter enemies on the field. But no one wants to see any player seriously injured. And no one wants to win by default because their opponent's best players can't answer the bell.