After breaking through one of the most difficult stretches in his young career, Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman celebrated his 9th save of the season in bizarre fashion on Tuesday night.
Chapman, also known as the "Cuban Missile" came in for relief against the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth inning and struck out the side to close out the ball game. After blowing his last two save attempts, Chapman celebrated by doing a pair of somersaults after striking out Brewers', Martin Maldonado to complete the win.
The Brewers were shocked to see the young Cuban hurler react like that, but even more surprised was Reds Manager, Dusty Baker. After speaking with Chapman after Tuesday's game, Baker made sure Chapman was aware that his antics were out of line.
"It's been addressed already and it's over," Baker said on Wednesday, before an afternoon game against the Brewers. "It won't happen again -- ever. I know he's happy and things have been going poorly for him, but he's got to demonstrate in a different way."
Chapman, who speaks through a translator declined to comment after the game.
Chapman has been much maligned throughout his early career. After finally being granted free agency status to the MLB in 2009, Chapman signed a six year contract worth $30.25 million with the Reds. After coming over from Cuba and signing such a huge deal, a ton of hype came along with the hard throwing Cuban's rocket arm. Chapman started off as a reliever early in his career and found great success in that role. During spring training prior to this season, Chapman was getting ready to compete for a job in the starting rotation, however injuries in the bullpen forced him to settle back into a reliever role.
So far this season, Chapman has flourished in the set up role, setting a club record with no earned runs allowed in his first 24 appearances. This success allowed him to move into the closer role which has been an up and down experience for the strong armed Cuban.
In addition to his inconsistency's on the field, Chapman has also been involved in several off-field problems. Some of these altercations include, speeding, driving with a suspended license and a recent lawsuit that is seeing Chapman sued for $18 million for making false statements that resulted in a man being imprisoned.
This latest somersault incident adds to the young pitchers tumultuous beginning to his career, and one sure hopes that the Chapman will learn from yet another peculiar episode.