TAMPA -- There probably was some nervous excitement Friday morning for the three Yankees minor leaguers who were assigned to take batting practice against closer Aroldis Chapman.
What fun ... unless one of the Cuban Missile's 105 mph fastballs came whizzing in high and tight!
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Infielder Nelson Gomez, a 19-year-old Dominican who hit .194 in the Gulf Coast League last season, swung through a few fastballs during his two at-bats against Chapman ... and he just missed being hit by a pitch.
On his first at-bat, Gomez took a pitch, swung through the next and then watched a slider bounce in the dirt and narrowly miss his foot. (See video)
"Didn't hit me," Gomez said after leaving the batter's box.
Had Gomez been hit, it probably only would have stung, but it would have been a good story for him to tell family and friends.
Chapman looked good in his morning throwing session, one in which hitters Mike Ford, Cito Culver and Gomez managed only a few foul balls during a 20-to-25 pitch batting practice session.
Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild watched Chapman pitch from behind the mound.
Before his outing, Chapman chatted with fellow Cuban/former Yankees pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who was in uniform on a nearby field serving as a minor-league instructor while wearing a first baseman's glove.Yankees' James Kaprielian throws BP
Chapman was the first of a few pitchers throwing BP at the minor-league complex before the Yankees opened Grapefruit League play a few blocks away at Steinbrenner Field.
Right-handed pitching prospect James Kaprielian, lefty reliever Chasen Shreve also faced hitters at the complex.
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