Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman will undergo surgery in a Phoenix hospital to repair facial fractures but has no other serious injuries after being hit in the face by a line drive in a spring training game, the team doctor announced Thursday.
"He has a very mild concussion, no other brain injury, his eye's fine," Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said. "He's a very lucky guy."
Kremchek said a metal plate will be inserted in the bone and will remain there permanently. He says Chapman has a very mild concussion but no other brain injury and no injury to his eye.
(Video of the incident here. Warning: Footage is graphic)
Kremchek said Chapman could be out of the hospital as soon as Saturday. The left-hander is expected to be out six to eight weeks.
"Hopefully in the next couple of weeks he'll be able to get back to exercising, throwing and hopefully be back within six-to-eight weeks to contact," Kremchek said. "The problem is you don't want him to get back to pitching or contact too soon just in case of another accident, a collision or another baseball hits him again."
Kansas City's Salvador Perez lined Chapman's 99 mph fastball into the pitcher's face in Wednesday night's game in Surprise, Ariz. Chapman collapsed to the ground, moaning in pain and kicking his feet.
Chapman was taken off the field by stretcher and transported to Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City. He was then transferred to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he was kept overnight.
"We're just hoping that he's feeling better, and ... we're optimistic that he's going to be on the mend," said Reds manager Bryan Price.
"We'll spend as much as time as we can letting him know how much support he has and how much we care about him. Hopefully we'll see him here pretty soon.
"We were all really frightened by what we saw and concerned about the long-term health. We've had some relief in the sense that it looks like there is no brain injury. We're optimistic he will be able to make a full recovery and that he'll be OK. The fact he was up this morning and joking with (catcher) Brayan (Pena) was a great sign."
Pena, who visited Chapman at the hospital on Thursday, was behind the plate when the pitcher was injured.
"Honestly, when I saw it, I wanted to cry," Pena said, per MLB.com. "That was my first feeling, because it was very scary. I felt like that it was very, very scary. I saw the line drive going straight to his face.
"When I saw him bleeding and kicking and moving around the way he was, I felt like he got a concussion or something, because he wasn't even talking. He was just moaning and making sounds.
"Then when I got there, I panicked. I didn't know what else to do. The medical staff arrived. Those guys were great. They did a really good job -- both the Royals and the Reds and the first responders. It was a very difficult situation for all of us. You never want this to happen to nobody, especially a close friend going down like that. It was very frightening for me."
Pena said Chapman was in good spirits in the hospital.
"He appreciates so much the fans' prayers, especially our teammates, our coaching staff and everybody around -- how much support and how much love he received and got from all of us," Pena said. "He wanted to make sure, too, that I passed his appreciation on to the Royals organization -- especially all the players with them on the field.
"He was very excited, very happy talking to me and joking to me. He was talking a lot about Cuban jokes. That's good. That means his memory is still working pretty good."
Chapman, 26, is entering his fifth major league season. He was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013, recording 38 saves each year.
Wednesday's game was halted in the bottom of the sixth inning after the incident, with the Royals awarded a 6-3 win.