Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price said Aroldis Chapman could be throwing live batting practice by the end of the team’s upcoming 10-day road trip.
Chapman was hit in the face with a line drive on March 19 and underwent surgery March 20 to repair a broken bone above his left eye. Monday he threw his first bullpen session since the operation and reported no issues.
“He’s going to throw bullpen (today),” Price said. “He’s going to be on roughly an every third day throwing schedule and probably get a minimum of three or four bullpens before he throws live batting practice. Live batting practice could take place by the end of the road trip if everything continues to go well. But again it’s day to day.”
What Chapman will be focusing on during the bullpen sessions is building his stamina.
“His arm is in great shape, it’s getting his endurance,” Price said. “He really was shut down in all capacities, so he wasn’t able to condition a great deal. Fortunately he was able to go out and play catch and keep his arm in great shape. He’s built up his endurance with his running and he’ll have to build up his endurance with his throwing as well.”
Price said Chapman will travel with the team on the three-city trip that features stops in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, but there are still some physical tests he needs to pass before he can begin taking ground balls and doing other types of situational work.
Marshall’s mend: Price also had good news to report about left-hander Sean Marshall (shoulder), who pitched one inning in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday at Toledo.
Reds pitching coach Mack Jenkins watched the performance on video and was encouraged.
“(Jenkins) said he looked like he threw free and easy,” Price said. “There’s no impediments to his delivery. He threw the ball very well, sharply with his breaking ball and fastball. So he’s right on track.”
Marshall was scheduled to throw again Wednesday night, and if all goes well he could be activated for the start of the road trip that begins Friday against his former team, the Chicago Cubs.
The return of Marshall, who did not allow an earned run during his final seven appearances in 2013, would be a big plus for the bullpen, and a welcome relief for lefty Manny Parra.
“It’s a huge boost because Manny’s been our do-it-all guy so far,” Price said. “He leads our team in appearances. He’s pitched the ninth inning, he’s pitched the eighth inning, he’s pitched multiple innings. He’s also our only left-hander. It would be nice to give him a reprieve by having some support with Sean. And certainly we know Sean is one of the better left-handed relief pitchers in the game. So it will be great to have him back.”
Broxton’s back: Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton was far from perfect Tuesday night, but he was successful in his first save attempt of the season.
Broxton, who had offseason forearm surgery, gave up a leadoff double to Jordy Mercer and issued a two-out walk to Jose Tabata to bring reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen to the plate as the potential go-ahead run.
But after fouling off three consecutive pitches with two strikes, McCutchen popped out to second baseman Brandon Phillips to end the game.
It was Broxton’s second appearance of the season, his save opportunity since June 2 last year and his first save since Sept. 19, 2012.