By Evan Brunell
Aroldis Chapman's final rehab assignment will come on Tuesday, which will mark the 30th day he was on assignment. That's the maximum amount of days a player can go on a rehab assignment without being activated.
"Hopefully, he'll have another good outing and we can make a positive decision," Reds manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com.
Chapman has struggled on his rehab stint, at one point moving down to Double-A for Triple-A, making his return to the majors far from a sure thing. He did show progress in rebounding from his baffling control issues, tossing two perfect innings on Saturday while whiffing three. For Double-A, Chapman has a 6.14 ERA in 7 1/3 innings, striking out 11 and walking six. His Triple-A numbers are worse: a 13.50 ERA in 4 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits -- but he did strike out eight and walked just two.
Pitching coach Bryan Price said a few weeks ago that a demotion to the minors was a sensitive topic for Chapman, as he could view it as an actual demotion whereas American players generally understand why one could be demoted to Triple-A but still be part of the club's future. Even with that in mind, Chapman's play hasn't really inspired confidence to date that he's rediscovered the ability to be a setup man for the Reds. Cincinnati may be able to better frame a demotion to the minors now that Chapman has spent 30 days down on the farm by explaining to him that they need to option him to the minors to continue getting more work, which the rehab timeframe will not allow.
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