Thinking of Chapman, Reds try to get back to normal
Ludwick recalls Encarnacion beaning; LeCure relieved game was called
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds' workout was completed on Thursday morning, ahead of their scheduled exhibition game against the Rangers in the afternoon -- but it still wasn't an easy day with thoughts about closer Aroldis Chapman overshadowing the team complex.
Chapman was struck in the face by a line drive during Wednesday's game vs. the Royals and suffered a fracture above his left eye and nose. He was scheduled to undergo surgery Thursday afternoon at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix.
"Your emotions are kind of pulling you a few different ways," reliever Sam LeCure said after the workout. "The main thing is we're concerned about Chappy and his health and those things. This is kind of our haven here. This is where we can go to get away from everything. Now it's at the forefront of everybody's mind. It's difficult in that regard, but it also is nice to get out on the field and go through your work day and try to be as normal as possible."
Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time that left fielder Ryan Ludwick witnessed a scary incident involving one of his teammates. In 2007 while with the Cardinals and playing against the Reds, Ludwick saw Juan Encarnacion struck in the left eye by a foul ball while in the on-deck circle. Unlike Wednesday's game, which was called off after Chapman's went down, St. Louis played on during a regular-season game.
"He's still partially blind in that one eye," Ludwick said. "It was the same type of reaction -- shock on the field and you're just praying for the guy, hoping for the best."
All the Reds can do is keeping playing moving forward, Ludwick felt.
"As professionals, it's what we're taught to do," Ludwick said. "I think in sports, you have to block that stuff out. I think Chappy is in the back of our minds. We're thinking about him all day long, but whether it's the loss of a family member or it's the birth of a baby -- a positive or negative -- what you see a lot in this industry is you try your best to tune it out. We all know the severity of the situation. We're praying for him and we're thinking of him. It's unfortunate, but we still have to go on with our daily business."
LeCure was scheduled to pitch after Chapman on Wednesday had the game continued. He said he would have pitched if called upon.
"I'm glad they didn't ask," LeCure said. "After a few minutes, I was like, 'Am I going to have to go in to pitch now? I don't really feel like going to do that.' Obviously I could. That's our job. This is what we do. All of us are aware. When we go out there, we're not thinking of getting hit by a line drive hit back at us. We're just thinking about getting outs."
LeCure has been hit by batted balls before, but nothing was close to what Chapman experienced.
"I've never been on the field when something like that went down," LeCure said. "I didn't know how I'd really feel about it -- watching a J.A. Happ or Brandon McCarthy -- and those were regular-season games. I was always like, 'They should continue the game. It's part of the job. It's occupational hazard.' But being there [Wednesday] night, I completely understood them stopping the game. I felt like my heart either didn't beat for 10 minutes or it beat a billion times in 10 minutes. I didn't even know. It was kind of a blurry situation for us all."
Cueto scratched, slated to start Tuesday
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who had the inside track to be the Opening Day starter, was scratched from his scheduled Thursday outing because of an irritation in the area near his right scapula behind his shoulder. Jeff Francis replaced Cueto for the start against the Rangers.
"He could pitch today," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He could pitch comfortably but it's irritated. He feels it more when he's done throwing. So we're going to skip him one start."
The plan is for Cueto to pitch six innings, and up to 90 pitches, on Tuesday. It would either be against the A's or in a Minor League game. Cueto has a 4.61 ERA in four starts this spring, but three of his four games have been excellent outings.
"He's had that little bit of sensation but it hasn't prevented him from pitching or throwing his bullpens or doing PFP [pitchers' fielding practice] or anything. Instead of allowing it to be a nagging issue, we decided that we would take care of it today."
Arm feeling fine, Latos to pitch Monday
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Although he turned his left ankle during a pitch in a Minor League game on Wednesday, Reds pitcher Mat Latos was feeling fine following his two-inning start. It was his first game since having Feb. 14 left knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus cartilage and October elbow surgery to remove bone chips.
"His arm felt good. He felt fine. He felt strong," manager Bryan Price said Thursday. "We don't see any reason why he wouldn't make his next start on schedule."
That next start will be Monday when Latos is slated to throw three innings and between 45-50 pitches. His following outing would come March 29 if there are no complications. Whether these games are in big league or Minor League settings remains unclear.
"Within the next 24 hours, I should have a better understanding where that should be," Price said.
• Reliever Jonathan Broxton, who threw eight pitches in one inning Monday in his first game back from August right forearm surgery, has his next outing slated for Friday vs. the Royals.
• On Thursday, the Reds made four Spring Training cuts, with right-handed pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Drew Hayes, left-handed pitcher Lee Hyde and infielder Argenis Diaz reassigned to Minor League camp. Cincinnati has 38 players in camp.