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Reds keep Chapman at closer

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Aroldis Chapman will be bringing his 100 mph fastball out of the bullpen again this season.

The Reds decided to keep Chapman as their closer on Friday instead of moving him into the rotation, a move that pleased the Cuban pitcher. He was a vital part of the Reds' drive to the NL Central title last year, saving 38 games.

GM Walt Jocketty signed Jonathan Broxton to a three-year, $21 million deal after last season, giving the Reds a proven closer so they could move Chapman into the rotation. The left-hander was a starter during spring training but said last week that he had become comfortable as a closer and would rather stay in that role.

The Reds took his preference into account in making the decision, though it wasn't the overriding factor.

The Reds will use Chapman in one-inning roles for the rest of spring training, getting him ready to pitch several days in a row during the season.

Manager Dusty Baker also announced his rotation. Johnny Cueto will start the opener, followed by Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake.

"That's a very strong rotation," Jocketty said. "And putting Chapman back to the closer role with Jonathan Broxton, who might close some games, gives us a very strong bullpen. As we evaluated it, we felt it was best."

Santana to start on DL: As expected, Mets left-hander Johan Santana, 33, will start the season on the disabled list while he works to strengthen his pitching shoulder. "He's going to have to get himself ready and that's going to certainly determine on a daily basis where he's at, but we'll be gone," manager Terry Collins said. "I'll have to monitor him by the phone."

Diamondbacks: Outfielder Adam Eaton will be out for up to two months because of a sprained left elbow. Eaton had been bothered by a sore elbow for a couple of weeks as the team had recently given him a couple days off.

Marlins: Touted outfield prospect Christian Yelich was assigned to minor-league camp, likely headed to Double A after hitting .364 with a team-leading five homers and 14 RBIs in 44 spring at-bats.

Padres: Right-hander and rotation candidate Casey Kelly needs elbow ligament-replacement surgery and will miss this season. GM Josh Byrnes said Kelly, 23, will have surgery on his pitching arm during the first week of April, and he is expected to miss 12 to 18 months while rehabbing.

Red Sox: Left-hander Jon Lester, in line to start opening day, pitched into the sixth against minor-leaguers, allowing two run and four hits as he reached 100 pitches for the first time this spring.

Rockies: Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who is slated to start on opening day, was scratched from a split-squad start because of back spasms. He pitched for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

Royals: Former Ray James Shields gave up for nine runs and 11 hits in five innings, but the Royals battered C.J. Wilson and the Angels 13-9.

Reds keep Chapman at closer 03/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 9:57pm]
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