Reds' Chapman pitches 3 innings in loss to Padres

Published:

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Aroldis Chapman wants to be a starter and took a big step toward that goal with a new pitch and new focus.

Chapman pitched more than two innings in a big league game for the first time, allowing one run over three innings in the Cincinnati Reds' 9-4 loss to a San Diego Padres in a split-squads game Wednesday.

Chapman revived a split-finger fastball while allowing four hits, including a homer to Andy Parrino.

"I threw some split-finger fastballs today," Chapman said through interpreter Tomas Vera. "The Reds asked me not to throw that pitch when I first signed with them but now since I'm a starter they told me to go ahead."

The Cuban defector is being converted into a starter and is competing for the fifth spot in the Reds' rotation. He is the only left-hander among the group.

As a reliever, Chapman relied heavily on a fastball clocked as high as 105 mph, but as a starter he needs to develop another quality pitch.

What he is primarily focused on is throwing strikes.

"Chapman had close to seven walks per nine innings," Dusty Baker said. "That's a lot. He was pretty good today. He gave up some hits but only one run."

Chapman insisted he knew he allowed to many walks.

"No one told me that I needed to cut down on walks. I've been focusing on throwing more strikes. My concentration wasn't always there last year because of personal problems."

Todd Frazier, competing for a backup spot behind third baseman Scott Rolen, had a two-run double off Clayton Richard for the Reds.

"He's got a lot more scalding to do," Baker said. "We only have so many spots to start so we'll see."

Frazier leads the Reds with three doubles and three home runs and is tied with Donald Lutz for the team lead with eight RBI.

Richard, who didn't pitch after July 4 and had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, tossed three innings in his second spring game. He allowed two runs on two hits and struck out two.

"Every time I've taken the mound I've been better. I don't think about the shoulder now," Richard said. "I was concentrating on my change-up. It was pretty good pitch for me today. After I get that working I will focus on my cutter."

Andy Parrino hit a solo home run off Chapman in the first inning and Matt Clark had a two-run blast off Jose Arredondo.

Notes: Barry Larkin, who was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in January, will throw out the first pitch on Friday before the game with Colorado. ... Brandon Phillips' younger brother PJ, who signed a minor league contract with the Reds this winter, shared the field with his older brother. PJ played center field and singled in two plate appearances. ... There were no walks issued in the game. ... Parrino hit his second home run of the spring for San Diego. ... The son of Reds minor league manager Pat Kelly, Casey Kelly, pitched three scoreless innings for San Diego.