Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman will make his exhibition debut for the Cincinnati Reds on Monday in Goodyear, Ariz., when he pitches in relief against the Kansas City Royals.
The Reds landed the hard thrower with a six-year, $30.25 million deal in January. Manager Dusty Baker said he wants the 22-year-old Cuban defector to concentrate on getting hitters out.
“I don’t care who you are, you’re going to be nervous. If you’re not nervous, you’re either lying or something’s wrong with you,” Baker said Thursday. “Hank Aaron used to say nerves are good. Just be nervous, but don’t be scared.”
Chapman pitched one inning in an intrasquad game Thursday, and hit infielder Todd Frazier in the right thigh with a 95 mph fastball. He gave up a double to Yonder Alonso, induced a groundout and struck out two batters.
Never miss a local story.
“He threw me a change-up,” said Wilkin Castillo, who fanned on the pitch. “I had no chance.”
Pitching coach Bryan Price was impressed with Chapman’s first appearance in a game setting.
“He kept the ball down,” Price said. “He was around the plate with three pitches. His slider is progressing. He’s a good athlete around the mound. What’s impressive is for a young kid that throws so hard, he was able to keep the ball in his location fairly well.”
Chapman is competing to make a Reds rotation that appears to have four spots set with Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, all right-handers
Dodgers sign Anderson
With a lack of confidence in their left-handed options off the bench, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed former Angels outfielder Garret Anderson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to the big-league camp in Glendale, Ariz.
Anderson, 37, will make $550,000 if he makes the major-league roster with another $200,000 available in bonuses. One roster spot will now go to a group of left-handed hitters that includes Anderson, Brian Giles and Doug Mientkiewicz.
Giants have long memories
The first pitch of the spring to Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder landed directly in the middle of his back.
It wasn’t due to a lack of control on the part of San Francisco Giants left-hander Barry Zito. There was a reason.
The Giants had been simmering all winter over Fielder’s antics after a walk-off home run against them at Milwaukee’s Miller Park on Sept. 6. When Fielder neared home plate, he braced for contact with his teammates, who fell backward like bowling pins.
There had been rumblings that the Giants were going to send a message to Fielder, and they wasted no time making good.
Plate umpire Ted Barrett went about halfway to the mound to make sure no larger fireworks ensued, and Fielder ambled to first base without much reaction.
New Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay aced his entry exam, pitching two near-perfect innings in a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees in Clearwater, Fla. Halladay threw two hitless innings while striking out three. … The New York Mets and right-hander Kiko Calero have agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. … Former NL Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser is joining Joe Morgan and Jon Miller in ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” announcing booth this season.