- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was relegated to riding on a car in Cincinnati’s opening day parade on Monday.

Chapman can’t work out while he recovers from a significant head injury during spring training. He had surgery on March 20 to have a plate installed above his left eye, fractured by a comeback liner during a game.

He’ll see a doctor on Wednesday to gauge his progress. The Reds think he’ll be able to return in May.

Chapman said he’s pain-free and has no lingering symptoms from the injury. Dr. Timothy Kremchek has said the closer is “very lucky” he didn’t have any more significant damage.

“I can’t feel any better,” Chapman said before Cincinnati’s season opener against St. Louis on Monday afternoon, with trainer Tomas Vera translating. “I feel almost normal.”

“I haven’t done anything,” he said. “Everything as instructed - just resting.”

Kansas City’s Salvador Perez lined one of Chapman’s 99 mph pitched back at him. The ball struck him above the left eye, knocking him to the ground. Tests determined he had a mild concussion but no damage to his vision.

“At the moment I got hit, I felt pain, but I’ve never had any vision problems or other problems,” he said.

Chapman and starter Mat Latos rode in the annual downtown parade before the game. They’re among eight Reds playes who opened the season on the disabled list.

Chapman has watched video of the game and realizes he’s fortunate that he wasn’t hurt more severely.

“I really don’t have the words to express to you how I feel because of what could have happened,” he said.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjoekay


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