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Reds: Chapman to remain closer

Reds: Chapman to remain closer
Posted Friday, March 22nd 2013 @ 4pm

After deeply considering switching Aroldis Chapman into the rotation, the Reds have abandoned the plan and announced Friday that the lefty will return to the bullpen as their closer.

Chapman, 25, had a 2.25 ERA in three games this spring, including two starts. His return to the closer's role means that Mike Leake will leave camp as Cincinnati's fifth starter.

Last season, Chapman was 5-5 with a 1.51 ERA and 38 saves in 43 attempts after he became the closer on May 20. In his 71 2/3 innings, he had 23 walks and 122 strikeouts and 68 appearances.

After the season, the organization moved toward having Chapman become a starting pitcher -- which was the ultimate goal when the Cuban defector was signed to a six-year, $30.25 million contract as a free agent in January 2010.

The plan seemed to be moving forward in November when the Reds re-signed Jonathan Broxton to a three-year, $21 million contract, with the potential he would take over as closer.

Chapman went through Spring Training last year as a starter only to go to the bullpen when injuries put three relievers on the disabled list.

Leake, 25, was 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 2012 as the Reds' fifth starter. He made a career-high 30 starts and threw 179 innings.

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