Chapman set to make first start for Reds
Cuban lefty has tossed four shutout innings in relief thus far
TUCSON, Ariz. -- With two relief appearances under his belt this spring, Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman will make his first start on Wednesday afternoon against the Brewers.The 4:05 p.m. ET game is the first of two split-squad games Cincinnati will play on Wednesday. The game will be available on Gameday Audio. Through four scoreless innings, the 22-year-old Chapman has allowed three hits while striking out five and walking one. In the appearances, which were both two innings, he touched 100 mph on scouts' radar guns. The previous outings had some differences, however. Chapman demonstrated command of all three of his pitches during his March 8 debut against the Royals. But he had trouble throwing strikes with his fastball and slider against the Dodgers in his last outing on Friday. During one at-bat in the Los Angeles game, Chapman started Matt Kemp with a 100-mph fastball and struck him out with a 90-mph changeup. Although he's been a huge curiosity that's drawn significant media attention, Chapman said after his last outing that he's gotten comfortable in the big league setting. "I feel all the stress I had in the past has gone away," said Chapman, who defected from Cuba during a July tournament in the Netherlands. "I feel really good about myself and I feel good being here." The Reds have been non-committal about their plans for Chapman as he battles for the fifth spot in the rotation against Matt Maloney, Justin Lehr, Mike Lincoln and others. Chapman has demonstrated the best stuff, but the club has indicated it could start him in the Minors anyway so he can continue his adjustment to a new life and culture. "My plans are to make the big league team," Chapman said. "But if not, I will go to the Minor Leagues and continue to work hard to get back up here." Doug Davis is scheduled to start for Milwaukee against Chapman, who will be followed out of the bullpen by Lehr, Kip Wells, Nick Masset, Arthur Rhodes and Pedro Viola.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.