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Chapman prefers to be Reds' closer

The SportsXchange

Closer or starter? That is the question for Aroldis Chapman and the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds haven't determined definitively yet how they'll use the hard-throwing left-hander this season, but if Chapman had his druthers, he would remain in the bullpen.

"I would like to be the closer, but that's not in my hands," Chapman said after he pitched four innings Saturday in a spring training game, according to

Reds management prefers to move Chapman into a starting role. Reds manager Dusty Baker is leaning toward keeping Chapman as the closer. Baker said earlier this week that he wanted a decision soon in order to make plans for his pitching staff this season.

"We were going to do what's best for the organization and for him," Baker said. "But he makes it a lot easier when you get the person's blessing."

In the closer role for the first time in his career last season, Chapman posted 38 saves in 43 opportunities while posting a 1.51 ERA and 122 strikeouts.

Chapman and Mike Leake are in contention for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Both pitched Saturday. Chapman gave up one run and two hits. Leake allowed seven runs, including five runs, and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings of a split-squad game.

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