Aroldis Chapman made a rehab appearance for the Single-A Dayton Dragons on Thursday, his first live game action since being struck in the face by a liner in a spring training.
If you expected Chapman to struggle in his return ... well, no. Didn't happen. Apparently the Lansing Lugnuts don't see many left-handed pitchers with triple-digit heat.
Chapman delivered a 1-2-3 inning for Dayton on Thursday, striking out the first two Lugnuts he faced. Aroldis twice reached 101 mph with his fastball, a radar reading that Dayton's two-digit in-stadium velocity display couldn't handle.
"I'm really positive about this," Chapman said after his outing, via interpreter Tomas Vera. "I feel really normal, I have a lot of confidence in myself. ... I have no fear at all."
The plan is for Chapman to make two or three additional rehab appearances before returning to Cincinnati, at which point he'll presumably reclaim closing duties from Jonathan Broxton.
"We're going to get through [Chapman's rehab] one at a time," Reds manager Bryan Price recently said. "We have a schedule. We have a template. ... He's stretched out. His arm is in great shape. It's just a matter of real game situations. We feel he is ready. It shouldn't be a terribly long rehab stint, I believe."
Bottom line: If we were drafting a rest-of-season fantasy league today, Chapman would be a top-three RP on my board. There's an excellent chance he'll give us four-and-a-half months of premium saves, with the usual elite K-rate. Tip of the cap to anyone who bought low. When he's right, Chapman is obviously as good as it gets.