Aroldis Chapman visits Reds

Updated: March 24, 2014, 10:55 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Aroldis Chapman, with two black eyes -- and a big smile -- returned to the Cincinnati Reds' clubhouse Sunday, four days after being hit in the face by a line drive.

The Reds tweeted a photo of Chapman addressing the media, along with trainer Tomas Vera, who translates for the team's Spanish-speaking players.

"I feel a lot better than I thought I would," Chapman said, wearing a hat with the brim pulled down to cover the surgical staples.

The 26-year old left-hander had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. A night earlier, he was hit by a ball off the bat of Kansas City's Salvador Perez.

Chapman said knew upon impact that he was going to be fine, in spite of the pain.

"You don't have time to think about it, but even when I was on the ground, I didn't have any bad thoughts in my mind about what I was going through," Chapman said through Vera. "It didn't bother me until they told me that it would be two months before I could pitch. That was what made me mad."

Chapman will begin cardio and throwing off flat ground in eight to 10 days. He is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

"It was the first time in my life that anything like that happened to me," he said. "I haven't thought about what will happen. I will have to get over it. My first thoughts are, I will have to throw more inside. I can't leave the ball out over the plate."

Chapman received a great deal of support from teammates, opponents, other Cuban players in the United States and many others people around the world.

"I feel happy that this many people came to me. All my teammates came to see me. All the Cuban players in this area came to see me. A lot of people prayed for me and contacted me on social media. That made me proud and happy," he said.

"I didn't see my father on the mound that night but I saw that he was there when I saw the video. You couldn't asked for more than to have your father there. I chose not to send for the rest of my family. I didn't want to put them through stress."

Chapman watched the video several times.

"Every time I see it, I feel happy," he said. "This could have been something worse. The way I feel now, I have no pain right now. I put a picture on Instagram. So many people around contacted me to see how I was. I couldn't contact them all so I put out the picture to let them know how good I felt."

The Reds are using the last week of spring training to find a closer to replace Chapman, who will be one of six Reds players to start the season on the disabled list.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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