Chapman to make U.S. pro debut Sunday

Chapman to make U.S. pro debut Sunday

CINCINNATI -- Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman will make his American professional baseball debut for Triple-A Louisville on Sunday.

Chapman will start for the Bats, who will be playing at Toledo against the Mud Hens. First pitch is at 2 p.m. ET.

The Reds signed Chapman, a Cuban defector, to a six-year, $30.25 million contract on Jan. 11. Generating plenty of buzz heading into Spring Training, the 22-year-old did not disappoint while posting a 1.69 ERA in five games, including one start. In 12 2/3 innings, he walked seven and struck out 15.

During a few of his outings, Chapman reached 100 mph with his fastball, but he also demonstrated a quality slider and changeup.

Chapman had an excellent shot at winning the fifth starter's spot in the big league rotation until back spasms on March 22 set him back. Although he missed only a couple of days, it was enough to prevent him from getting enough innings to be ready for the regular season.

The Reds, who optioned Chapman to Louisville on April 2, named 2009 first-round Draft pick Mike Leake as their fifth starter out of camp.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.