Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 17, 2013

Chapman prefers closer's role


Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. —

Aroldis Chapman doesn't like the uncertainty that has come with being taken out of the closer role and thrust into the mix for a job in the Reds' rotation.

So he decided to make his preference known: He wants to close.

His manager, Dusty Baker, wants to hear that directly from Chapman before he decides whether the left-hander will be the Reds' fifth starter or their finisher.

Chapman with the 100 mph fastball saved 38 games for the Reds in 2012. On Saturday, he made his second start of spring training and fourth overall appearance, including a minor league game on March 11.

He allowed a run and two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in four innings as the Reds won a split squad game over the San Francisco Giants, 7-6.

''I'm waiting to hear (the decision) so I can feel better, concentrate more,'' Chapman said. ''I don't think (it's a distraction) because when you go out there to pitch, you can't think about that. But it still would be better to know what they're going to do.

''The truth is, if they were to make the decision, I would want to be the closer,'' Chapman said, ''but it's not in my hands.''

Chapman said he relishes the role of closer because of the rush of pitching in the ninth inning. Baker said he'd planned to speak with Chapman about it after he'd pitched.

''You hear all kinds of stuff. You hear it from his camp. You hear it from people talking and everybody thinks they're in the know,'' Baker said after the game. ''We are going to do what's best for the team and for him. But it makes it a lot easier when you get the person's blessing.''

Baker said he was happy Chapman finally spoke up about the situation because he doesn't always talk to those who make such decisions.

As for the game, Baker felt Chapman didn't throw many quality pitches, but because of his overpowering stuff he was able to pitch out of trouble.

Chapman walked the first two hitters he faced and threw a wild pitch in the inning, but settled down.

Chapman's counterpart on the mound for San Francisco, Madison Bumgarner, remained solidly on track to start the second game of the regular season for the Giants on April 2.

The 23-year-old left-hander with 29 wins combined over the past two seasons allowed only a run on two hits over five innings.

''I felt just a touch better than last time out,'' Bumgarner said. ''Everything felt in rhythm more. Last time, I felt the timing was a little bit out of wack.''

Bumgarner pitched four shutout innings and allowed one hit on March 11.

Pablo Sandoval had two hits, including a run-scoring double in the sixth for the Giants.