Aroldis Chapman of the Reds throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during a spring training baseball game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 14, 2012 . (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Chapman pitches five strong innings for Reds

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Aroldis Chapman is looking more and more like a savvy pitcher and not just a hard thrower. It could earn him a spot in Cincinnati's starting rotation.

The Cuban left-hander didn't walk a batter in his second straight start covering 10 innings and pitched five solid innings Thursday as the Reds defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 9-3.

Chapman scattered seven hits and struck out six, throwing 89 pitches. He also hit a run-scoring double in the fourth inning.

"I think I can be in the rotation," Chapman said through a translator. "I don't know, that's not my decision. We have to wait until the end of camp."

That also was the word from Reds manager Dusty Baker.

"We haven't decided yet who will be in the starting rotation. We'll let you know. Quit asking, please," Baker said. "Honestly, we have not decided yet. There's more people involved here than just Chapman."

Chapman gave up his runs in the fourth inning, and escaped further trouble by leaving the bases loaded.

"I feel really happy about the way things have gone in camp," Chapman said. "It was my goal to have fewer walks. I'm happy with my command."

Chapman, who has had his fastball clocked over 100 mph, said his speed is down at the moment.

"I don't know if I can throw harder than 94-96 right now," he said. "Right now, I'm concentrating on my command. I try to be ahead in the count. Maybe later, the velocity, the speed will come back."

The velocity was plenty fast for Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who was hit in the back by a pitch from Chapman with one out in the fifth. It took a few minutes for the sting to subside as a team trainer looked at Morgan.

"He got smoked," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.

Morgan had a chance to score on a double off the left field fence by the next batter, Ryan Braun, but Morgan fell about halfway between second and third and scrambled into third.

"(Chapman) has a nice arm. His velocity is up there and he was mixing in some sliders," Roenicke said.

Brewers veteran left-hander Randy Wolf was feeling the sting from surrendering 12 hits and seven runs in seven innings. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six.

Roenicke didn't seem too concerned about the outing.

"A lot of balls blooped in. It wasn't as bad as his line was," Roenicke said.

Right-hander Mike Leake, also making a bid for the Reds' rotation, pitched three innings to earn the save. He gave up three hits, including a home run to Martin Maldonado in the ninth inning.

Juan Francisco got things going for the Reds in the second inning by hitting a solo homer off Wolf with one out.

Todd Frazier had three hits and drove in two runs for the Reds, and Ryan Ludwick had two hits. Rickie Weeks had two hits, the only Brewers player with more than one.

NOTES: Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on March 6, is playing in some minor league games. The club is expected to re-evaluate his status on Sunday and make a decision whether to put him on the opening-day roster or place him on the disabled list. ... Brewers outfielder Zelous Wheeler was claimed off waivers by Baltimore. ... Reds baserunners have stolen 29 bases in 34 attempts this spring.

Copyright Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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