Anyone who saw the spring training video of Aroldis Chapman getting struck in the head by a line drive knows how serious the immediate ramifications were at the time. At worst, Chapman may have sustained an injury that would threaten his life, or possibly even his career. At best, Chapman was probably looking at some time on the sidelines due to a concussion and contusion to the face.
The end result appears to be somewhere in the middle. After about a day or so of examining Chapman's condition, the initial timetable for his return was set at roughly 6-8 weeks. Nearly three weeks into rehabilitation, it seems as though Chapman could return sooner rather than later, although there's still no definitive timetable for his return.
According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Cuban southpaw is scheduled to throw his first bullpen on Monday since suffering the brutal injury. This after he has been playing catch in the outfield grass of Great American Ball Park for the better part of the last week. With that being said, Chapman has been showing superhuman healing powers in his road to recovery.
Take this quote from one of his teammates for example:
"I'm speechless, to be honest with you," catcher Brayan Pena said of Chapman on Friday. "What I saw from him (Thursday), he was throwing probably 97 or 96 mph on the flat ground that we were playing. I was impressed. After that we ran three-quarter poles and he was very fresh, very strong. He was great. Like I said, I'm speechless. I never expected him to be this advanced -- I don't know if he's ahead of schedule, but he looks like it. He looks great, great form. He's loose, his motion was good. He was moving his head like it was nothing. I was very, very surprised to see Chappy throwing like that."
As Pena alluded to, Chapman looks to be on the right track, physically-speaking. But how about the mental aspect of the game after experiencing such a scary incident? Apparently, Chapman doesn't think it's going to effect him in the least bit.
"Everybody asks me that question, everybody asks the same thing and I know me, and I know that I don't think I'm going to have any issue with that," Chapman said according to Reds assistant trainer and interpreter Tomas Vera. "I've thought about the way I feel, the way I am, I don't think this is going to effect me."
Again, it's still unknown when Chapman will pitch in a meaningful game for the Reds this season. But indications suggest that he's recovering much better than those close to him originally anticipated.