After spending two months away from the major league, Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance as the Cincinnati Reds closer on Sunday.
Chapman suffered a sever facial injury during Spring Training after getting hit with a line drive. He quickly underwent surgery and began loosening his arm and pitching in rehab games. Chapman was lit up during his last two rehab starts, allowing eight runs in just one combined inning. However, Chapman was throwing the ball hard, pitching anywhere from 97-101 mph.
The Reds management felt that Chapman was ready to return to the majors as he was activated Saturday. In his first appearance back, he threw 21 pitches and clocked in at 101 mph for his final pitch. In one inning, he let up a leadoff walk, but was able to strikeout the next three batters and recorded his first save for the season.
Chapman was drafted as a top-five closer. The injury dropped him in drafts a little bit, but was still being drafted in the top 10. He kept 100 percent ownership in ESPN.com leagues. Despite missing six weeks, Chapman will still finish was a top-10 closer. He will finish with 25 saves and a 2.25 ERA.
Chapman returned a lot earlier than expected as many thought the Reds management will keep him out until the All Star break. His return provided a much-needed boost to the closer position and will greatly help fantasy owners, especially those struggling at the closer position, for the rest of the season.