CINCINNATI -- Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has often been secretive about anything in his life pertaining to his former home in Cuba, but he revealed something important on Saturday.
Chapman, who was elected to the National League All-Star team for the second time on the players' ballot Saturday, will have special guests watching the game at Citi Field in New York on July 16.
"My parents are going to be with me. They are here with me now," Chapman said via interpreter Tomas Vera. "I'm going to feel really happy pitching there. It will be even better because my parents are going to be there watching me pitch in the game."
Chapman, a 25-year-old hard-throwing left-hander, declined to provide details about his parents or how they got out of Cuba.
"They got here in January," Chapman said. "They spent Spring Training there with me. We didn't want to say anything to anybody."
In July 2009, Chapman defected from Cuba while in the Netherlands for an international tournament. With some assistance, he established residency in the small European nation of Andorra.
Leaving without notice meant Chapman had had a long separation from his family -- including a wife and a baby daughter, Ashanti, whom he has yet to meet.
"They're still in Cuba. God willing, they will be here soon," Chapman said.
Declared a free agent after coming to the United States, Chapman signed a six-year, $30,250,000 contract with the Reds. He debuted in the Majors on Aug. 31, 2010, and on Sept. 24 at San Diego, fired a record 105-mph pitch.
Chapman spent the 2011 season as an eight-inning set-up man for Cincinnati. Installed as the closer in May of 2012, he posted a 1.51 ERA and saved 38 games.
This season, Chapman is 3-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 20 saves in 23 chances over 38 appearances. He has struck out 59 with 18 walks.
"In three [full] years, this is my second time going to the game," Chapman said. "This means a lot for me. I think I've advanced a lot in the game."
Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less