Newly acquired closer Aroldis Chapman lived up to the hype in his first appearance with the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night. He struck out two Chicago White Sox players in a scoreless inning as part of an 8-1 victory over the team’s crosstown rival.

Afterward, Jesse Rogers of reported the flame-throwing left-hander initially told the Cubs’ public relations staff he wasn’t going to speak with the media. He eventually decided to provide brief comments with catcher Miguel Montero, who served as his Spanish translator.

“The adrenaline was pretty good even though it wasn’t a save situation,” Chapman said. “It was fun to hear the crowd cheer for me.”

It’s been a rocky start to the relationship between Chapman and the Chicago media. He struggled to answer questions about the organization’s expectations for him during a press conference Tuesday, which Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago described as “awkward.”

Mooney also declared it a “completely tone-deaf performance” even when considering the additional hurdle of trying to work through a translator. The closer, who received a 30-game suspension earlier in the year for domestic violence, downplayed any lingering backlash, according to Mooney:

My confidence right now is coming from within. Everything is going to be fine. I’m just going to be the best person I can be. I understand what I went through. And I’m a better person now.

The Cubs acquired the reliever from the New York Yankees on Monday in exchange for veteran pitcher Adam Warren and three prospects. They hope he’ll solidify a bullpen that ranks 13th in ERA, per, and create a dynamic one-two punch with Hector Rondon in the late innings.

It will be interesting to see how his relationship with the media develops, though. Like New York, Chicago is an intense sports market, and the spotlight is going to shine brightly on Chapman if the Cubs make a serious charge toward a championship in the coming months.

Things certainly haven’t gone smoothly over the past couple of days. But his electric on-field performance Wednesday night showed why the Cubs were willing to take a chance on him.


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