Closer role is starting to grow on Reds' Chapman

The SportsXchange

Aroldis Chapman has taken quite well to the closer role for Cincinnati. He is 4-4 with a 1.57 ERA and 17 saves.

"He seems like he likes it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said before Monday's 8-3 win over Houston. "Once you've been a starter, most guys would rather start. Most guys didn't come up as a closer."

Baker did not rule out Chapman starting in 2013.

"We'll worry about that next year," Baker said. "We'll worry about that when we get (Ryan) Madson back. We'll worry about that then. There are plenty of guys that went from starters to closer to the Hall of Fame. (Dennis) Eckersley, Goose Gossage, (Dave) Righetti. Righetti's not in the Hall of Fame, but he was a pretty good closer."

Chapman prepared in spring training to start, but Madson, Nick Masset and Bill Bray all got hurt and Chapman was shifted to the bullpen.

"We needed him in that role," Baker said. "Where would we be without him initially in the setup role and now as the closer? He's been involved in half our wins. I hate to think where we'd be without him in that role."

Chapman hasn't allowed a run over his last 11 appearances and 10 1/3 innings. In that span, he has allowed two hits, walked three and struck out 25.

"He's getting better to having the same stuff the second day," Baker said. "Your body gets acclimated over a period of time. He trains hard, too."
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