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Chapman gets plate in head

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Reds closer Aroldis Chapman had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries after being hit in the face by a line drive in a spring training game late Wednesday.

Team medical director Timothy Kremchek said Chapman, 26, could begin throwing off a mound in six to eight weeks, a timetable that could get him back in games in late May. The left-hander with a fastball that has reached 105 mph could start exercising and throwing in a couple of weeks.

The doctor called Chapman "a very lucky guy." Kremchek said a metal plate will be inserted in the bone above Chapman's left eyebrow, with perhaps a bone graft as well, and will remain there permanently. Chapman had a mild concussion but no other brain injury and no injury to his eye, Kremchek said.

In the sixth inning, the Royals' Salvador Perez lined Chapman's 99 mph fastball into the pitcher's face. Chapman was knocked backward to the ground, then rolled on his face, kicking in pain.

Catcher Brayan Pena, a fellow Cuban and friend, rushed to the mound. "Honestly when I saw it I wanted to cry," Pena said. "It was very scary because I saw the line drive going straight for his face, and then I saw him bleeding and kicking and moving around the way he was."

Opener Down Under: After taking its opener to Mexico, Japan and Puerto Rico over the past 15 years, Major League Baseball is expanding to a new territory this weekend: Australia. When Arizona's Wade Miley throws the first pitch of the season against the Dodgers at 4 a.m. Eastern Saturday (MLB Network) at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the teams will be nearly 7,800 miles from Chase Field in Phoenix. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw celebrated his 26th birthday Wednesday by cuddling a kangaroo. "It's been a good experience for us and, hopefully, we can get a couple of wins and make it a great one," he said. "Opening day is always fun, no matter what continent it's on."

Braves: Right-hander Brandon Beachy will have ligament-replacement surgery today in his right elbow for the second time and is expected to miss the entire season. With Oakland pitcher Jarrod Parker also needing the same operation, Mets GM Sandy Alderson suggested Major League Baseball study how to prevent reoccurrences. "We and the rest of baseball need to do more research into exactly what happens between the first surgery and the second injury, because obviously it's devastating when it happens," Alderson said. … Ervin Santana, signed to a $14.1 million, one-year contract March 12 after season-ending injuries to Kris Medlen and Beachy, allowed one run over two innings against the Mets. "First outing in the National League, it's very good," said Santana, who is not expected to join the team until mid April as he strengthens his arm.

Marlins: Second baseman Derek Dietrich broke his nose when he was struck by a bad-hop single off the bat of the Cardinals' Jon Jay. Dietrich, who did not need stitches, is day to day.

Tigers: Shortstop Jose Iglesias will be out four to six months because of stress fractures in both legs.

Chapman gets plate in head 03/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:51pm]
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