Major-league pitchers unnerved by injury to Aroldis Chapman

In this image provided by Mark Sheldon, Cincinnati In this image provided by Mark Sheldon, Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is taken off the field after being hit by a line drive on March 19, 2014, another frightening incident involving a pitcher being struck by a batted ball. Photo Credit: AP / Mark Sheldon

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News of the horrific injury suffered by Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman when he was hit in the face with a line drive on Wednesday sent shivers through major-league clubhouses Thursday. Many pitchers who had heard about the incident refused to watch the replay.

"I don't need to see that," the Mets' Zack Wheeler said. "Once you've had a couple of those whiz by your head, it puts you in your place real fast."

Yankees reliever David Robertson -- one of the most approachable local athletes when it comes to the media -- was so unnerved by the topic that he declined to be interviewed about it.

Chapman had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries, the Reds announced. The team said Chapman could begin throwing off a mound in six to eight weeks.

Chapman, the closer from Cuba who is known for his 100-mph fastball, was struck by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City's Salvador Perez after throwing a 99-mph pitch. The Reds and Royals did not resume the game after Chapman was hit.

Before the surgery, Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said a metal plate would be inserted in the bone above Chapman's left eyebrow and will remain there permanently. He said a bone graft might be done. Chapman also has a very mild concussion, but Kremchek called him "a very lucky guy."

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Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova said he was hit in the face while pitching for Class A Tampa in 2008. He suffered a cut on the inside of his mouth and a loosened tooth but continued pitching.

Nova keeps a photo of himself, which shows a bruise just above his upper lip, on his phone as a reminder of how fortunate he was. "You never want to see anybody get hit," he said. "Not only your teammates, but anybody in the sport."

Mets reliever Scott Rice had his glove knocked off last July 19 by a rocket hit by Michael Young. "It almost killed me," he said. "I was just able to get the glove up and knock it down . . . It was right at my face."

MLB approved a protective cap for pitchers during the winter, but no hurler is believed to have worn it in a game.

"I haven't even seen it," CC Sabathia said. "I would be open to it. But he got hit in the face, so it wouldn't have helped."

With AP

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