CINCINNATI -- The radar readings might have been in dispute on Monday, but there was no question that the life was more than back in Aroldis Chapman's prized left arm.
For the first time since he worked with subpar velocity on Wednesday in San Diego, Chapman emerged from the Reds' bullpen and worked the ninth inning of a 9-3 loss to the Pirates. It was a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout. His first two pitches to Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia were clocked at 100 mph by Pitch F/X on MLB.com Gameday. In Chapman's third pitch to Andrew McCutchen, the scoreboard radar display showed 106 mph, as the crowd cheered. However, the television broadcast radar read 105 mph and Pitch F/X had Chapman reaching a top speed of 102. Had the 106 mph been legitimate, it would have broken his previous record of 105.1 mph set in September last year in San Diego.
"I feel good. I don't think my speed went away," Chapman said through his interpreter, Tomas Vera. "It was just like a normal day, like any other pitcher. My arm wasn't feeling as well as it is and that's it. My arm never felt bad."
Chapman was told to rest his arm for a few days because of inflammation after he turned in fastball speeds mainly in the low-to-mid 90s on back-to-back days vs. the Padres. He made only 10 pitches on Wednesday and looked erratic. Catcher Ramon Hernandez alerted the club that afternoon and suggested that Chapman be removed from the game, much to his displeasure. Chapman downplayed that issue on Monday.
"I never worry about those things," Chapman said. "All that happened is when you don't have what you've got usually, you just try to do the job that you do with all the pitches. That's what I was doing."
Reds manager Dusty Baker and the club are still finding ways to optimize Chapman's ability without wearing him out.
"Can you afford to give him three or four days off so he can throw as hard as he did tonight? Or will he get conditioned to going a couple of days in a row?" Baker said after Monday's game. "Remember, everybody wanted him to be the closer. You can't be the closer right now going a couple of days a week. A closer has to go three, four, five days in a row sometimes. Then you might not use your closer for a week. That's how things go.
"We were hoping he could sort of step into Arthur Rhodes spot, along with [Nick] Masset. Masset is struggling some, and Chapman hasn't acclimated to consecutive days yet like that role requires. We might have to do more mixing and matching than I'd care to but have to."