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    More positive reaction on Chapman

    I'll just start a new thread for this since there's probably going to be a lot of news on Chapman in the next few days and I'll try to keep it all on one thread.

    Chapman continues to impress
    By C. Trent Rosecrans, CNATI.com Posted March 4, 2010 6:39 PM ET

    GOODYEAR, Ariz. - Even Aroldis Chapman is slightly surprised at how he's pitched so far in Reds camp.

    After striking out two in an inning of work in Thursday's intrasquad game at Goodyear Ballpark, Chapman admitted he's doing better than he thought he might in the big leagues.

    "I thought it wouldn't go as well as it has, but I have worked hard on my control and my command and it's working out pretty well," Chapman said, through an interpreter-reporter, Jorge Ortiz of USA Today.

    Chapman said he didn't have any nerves on Thursday, the first day he's thrown in game-like situations in more than a eight months, but after a couple of early control issues, a double by Yonder Alonso and hitting Todd Frazier in the right leg, Chapman struck out the final two batters he faced, Ryan Hanigan and Wilkin Castillo.

    "Chapman threw the ball great, threw it over the plate and it was live," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "If he gets the ball over the plate, he's going to be hard to hit. But he did keep the ball down, which is a big plus."

    Chapman threw two balls to start off against Balentien, before getting the right fielder to foul off a pitch and then ground out to shortstop Orlando Cabrera. The next batter, Alonso, too the first pitch he saw - a fastball on the outside corner - the other way into the corner in left for a double. Chapman said it was a good pitch, but Alonso, who was also born in Cuba, put a good swing on the ball.

    Frazier was then hit on the first pitch he saw from Chapman, a 95-mph fastball. Frazier suffered a bruised right quadriceps, but no X-rays were needed. He will be evaluated again on Friday.

    With men on first and second, Chapman showed why the Reds signed him to the six-year, $30.25 million deal and why he may just have taken the lead for the Reds' fifth starter position when the team breaks camp in a month.

    "It seems like when hitters step in there, he's real focused, he look great. He pitched me tough, real hard, sinking two-seamers and then surprised me with two cutters in that he could throw for a strike," Hanigan said. "To be able to throw that pitch to righties, or even lefties, inside for a strike reminds me of a guy like Randy Johnson. He's got the loose arm and he was throwing strikes. He elevated with two strikes on me, got it up and as hard as he throws, that's all he has to do. The velocity speaks for itself."

    Chapman got Hanigan to swing at a high fastball for a third strike.

    "I saw a lot of consistency in his delivery of both his fastball and his breaking ball. He was throwing two of the low, hard fastballs and two cutters right where he should have," Hanigan said. "That's just one at-bat, but to see the fact that he has the potential to control his hard pitches in and his off-speed pitches is outstanding. He's just got to keep doing what he's doing."

    The radar gun readings in the park showed him throwing as fast as 97 mph, and he actually threw harder out of the stretch. Chapman said he wasn't worried about what the radar gun said, refusing the information when offered to him.

    The final batter he faced, Castillo, had caught Chapman before, but said it was much different to face him with a bat in his hand, and something he doesn't want to experience again anytime soon.

    Castillo saw the gas, but it was a changeup that got him swinging - a changeup that came in at 82 mph.

    "It's nasty," Castillo said. "He threw me one (changeup) and I had no chance. Nasty."


    From safely in the dugout, pitching coach Bryan Price also liked what he saw.

    "Impressive, you guys all saw it," Price said. "It's a terrific fastball and he threw a great changeup to his last hitter for his final out, we know the slider is progressing nicely. ... I saw a guy that was around the plate with three pitches, his arm looks live, he's athletic around the mound and I certainly wasn't disappointed in any way."

    Chapman will face the Kansas City Royals on Monday at Goodyear Ballpark, but he won't start.

    "If we pitch him later, fans stick around and drink more beer," Baker said.

    If he continues to pitch like he has this spring, there could be a lot of beer sold at Great American Ballpark next month.

    http://cnati.com/spring-training-201...mpress-001431/
    Last edited by OnBaseMachine; 03-04-2010 at 07:12 PM.

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    Re: More positive reactions on Chapman

    Chapman is the real deal

    By Hal McCoy
    FOX Sports Ohio
    March 4, 2010

    GOODYEAR, Ariz. — For all but two members of the Cincinnati Reds, the coming out party of 22-year-old Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman was a blow-out-the-candles and stab the pinada success.

    Chapman spun the radar gun numbers up to 97 miles an hour with his fastball and sprinkled 12 strikes into his 17-pitch one-inning debut today during an intrasquad game in Goodyear Stadium.

    And who couldn’t be happy about it?

    Well, Todd Frazier, for one. It was a re-enactment of the Muhammad Ali-George Frazier boxing match in which broadcaster Howard Cosell screamed into his microphone, “Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier,” when Ali knocked out Frazier.

    Todd Frazier was the third batter to face Chapman and the first pitch, clocked at 95 miles an hour, struck Frazier on the back of the right knee and once again it was, “Down goes Frazier.”

    He left the game, suffering a bruised muscle and later limped gamely to his car in the parking lot.

    The second unhappy camper was opposing catcher Wilkin Castillo. He faced the last pitch Chapman threw, a change-up. And he struck out.

    “He throws hard, man,” said Castillo. “He threw me three fastballs that I fouled off (the third of which broke his bat), then he threw me that change-up and I had no chance. He throws 98 miles an hour on his fastballs, then 84 miles an hour with his change-ups. I’d rather catch him than try to hit him.”

    Veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez did catch him – and hit a home run off Opening Day starter Aaron Harang as the home team Whites defeated the visiting team Grays, 4-2.

    “That change-up he threw was good and now he has to work on his control,” said Hernandez. “That’s all it is. He missed on a few guys and was overthrowing a little bit, maybe. Remember, though, he hasn’t thrown in eight months. He fixes that up and he’ll be set.

    “He always throws hard and I thought he really threw well trying to pound the strike zone with his fastballs,” said Hernandez. “He has worked a lot on keeping his pitches down and did that well.”

    Chapman, a lean and not-really-mean lefthander at 6-4, 185 pounds, seemed to take it all in with a smile and a few shrugs.

    Speaking through an interpreter, fellow Cuban and minor-league pitching coach Tony Fossas, Chapman said, “I felt good about my fastball, felt good about my location and felt good about everything that is going on right now.”

    And about that pitch that nearly de-knee-capitated Frazier, Chapman said, “I was trying to throw the ball inside. Nothing intentional. I just was trying to throw inside. It didn’t scare me at all, but it isn’t something I don’t want to do to a teammate.”

    About the change-up to Castillo, he said, “I feel good about it because I’ve been working hard on it and it is going to get better.”

    In addition to hitting Frazier and striking out Castillo, he also struck out Ryan Hanigan and gave up an opposite field bloop double to Yonder Alonso.

    Asked if Alonso hit a good pitch, Chapman smiled and said, “Si.”

    Pitching coach Bryan Price was overtly pleased but not shocked.

    “Impressive,” he said. “A terrific fastball and threw a real nice change-up to strike out his last hitter. We know his slider is progressing nicely. I saw a guy around the plate with three pitches (fastball, slider, change-up) and an arm that is live.

    “We’re not bringing in a guy who has never pitched, some guy hidden away some place and we brought him here and said, ‘Hey, let’s make him a pitcher.’”

    No, they didn’t. Chapman was a well-known pitcher for the Cuban National team and it only cost the Reds $30.25 million to have him affix his name to a contract.

    So far, so good – so very good.

    http://www.foxsportsohio.com/pages/l...48&feedID=5264

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Frankie Piliere (former MLB scout) of AOL Fanhouse was in attendance today and came away very impressed with Chapman. Here are some of his comments from twitter.

    I think if I was re-doing the top 100 today Chapman would be #2

    To answer all asking yeah Chapman looked that good. You just don't find lefties that have that type of stuff, that body, and that easy velo

    When asked if Chapman compares more to Randy Johnson or Clayton Kershaw: Johnson. More of that lefty decepting and I think he can live 95 MPH

    Like I told others, the stuff isn't going anywhere. With that type of stuff, it's impossible not to put him that high. Its that rare

    When asked how he would rate Chapman's chaneup: Potential plus (6) pitch. Can't grade it there yet but at 14 MPH differential + fade it's got big potential

    http://twitter.com/FrankiePiliere

    It sounds like his changeup has come a long way. Is Soto working his magic again?
    Last edited by OnBaseMachine; 03-04-2010 at 09:19 PM.

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Frankie Piliere (former MLB scout) of AOL Fanhouse was in attendance today and came away very impressed with Chapman. Here are some of his comments from twitter.

    I think if I was re-doing the top 100 today Chapman would be #2

    To answer all asking yeah Chapman looked that good. You just don't find lefties that have that type of stuff, that body, and that easy velo

    When asked if Chapman compares more to Randy Johnson or Clayton Kershaw: Johnson. More of that lefty decepting and I think he can live 95 MPH

    Like I told others, the stuff isn't going anywhere. With that type of stuff, it's impossible not to put him that high. Its that rare

    When asked how he would rate Chapman's chaneup: Potential plus (6) pitch. Can't grade it there yet but at 14 MPH differential + fade it's got big potential

    http://twitter.com/FrankiePiliere

    It sounds like his slider has come a long way. Is Soto working his magic again?
    I thought Soto only threw a Fastball and Change up. Has he helped others with their Sliders?
    When people say that I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to sports or writing, I think: Man, you should see me in the rest of my life.
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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    I thought Soto only threw a Fastball and Change up. Has he helped others with their Sliders?
    Doh! I meant to say changeup, not slider. My fault.

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Great article by Jorge Ortiz of USA Today...

    Cuban defector Chapman, 22, sparks hype, hope for Reds
    By Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY

    GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, the father of three young kids, was extolling the joys of having a family when he asked new teammate Aroldis Chapman six lockers away about his relatives.

    Chapman, a left-hander who signed a six-year, $30.25 million contract seven months after defecting in July, said his family stayed in his native Cuba.

    "You don't have anybody here?" asked Cueto, who hails from the Dominican Republic.

    "No, I'm by myself here."

    "You have to bring your family. It's good to be with your family, your mom. Do you have any kids?"

    "A girl. I haven't met her."

    "You haven't met her?"

    "No, because she was born right when I was leaving."

    Then the starting pitchers, centerpieces of the Reds' plans to bolster their rotation and build around youth, showed each other cellphone pictures of their kids.

    Their Spanish-language conversation captures some of the challenges Chapman faces in living up to the Reds' hopes and the considerable hype building around him.

    Baseball fans have been hearing about his 100-mph fastball since last year's World Baseball Classic, when Chapman pitched for the Cuban national team.

    Many have followed the saga of the promising pitcher who walked away from his past during an amateur tournament in the Netherlands, became a free agent and landed with the Reds, a small-market team that stunned observers by outbidding the competition.

    Frequently mentioned but less appreciated are the off-field difficulties inherent in making such a drastic life change: learning a new language and culture, adjusting to new food and surroundings, plus accepting that a family reunion might be a long time in coming.

    Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez left Cuba with his wife and kids in 2007, but the rest of his family stayed behind, and he still feels their absence.

    "You wonder how well they're eating back home, what they lack for," Ramirez says. "And you always need your dad's embrace, your mom's caress. We have everything, but we miss those little things that are more important."

    Chapman left his girlfriend, Raidelmis Mendosa, and their 8-month-old daughter, Ashanti Brianna, in addition to his parents and two older sisters.

    "At first it was hard not to see them, because I had never spent so much time away from my house. I had always lived with them," Chapman, 22, says in Spanish. "But I'm getting used to it now. When I'm alone and start thinking about my family, I can call them. I'm getting accustomed to being independent."

    The Reds have tried to make the transition easier by assigning former major league reliever and Class A pitching coach Tony Fossas, also a Cuban native, to serve as Chapman's "guardian" and interpreter during spring training.

    The club's numerous Hispanic players — including first-base prospect Yonder Alonso, who left Cuba at 11 — also provide a support system. And it helps that manager Dusty Baker speaks Spanish.

    "It also helps I played with a number of Cuban players," Baker says. "I think I understand the culture possibly as well or better than most people around."

    Ultimately, it's up to Chapman to assimilate. English still is a foreign concept, but he seems increasingly comfortable with his teammates, even those who don't speak Spanish. He has also embraced some of the trappings of American life, including rap music, fancy shoes and iPhones. He has yet to buy a car.

    "Not everybody has a car in Cuba," Chapman says. "It's not like here where teenagers have cars. Life's very different. There, if you need to go someplace, you take the bus. Here, you jump in your car."

    Major league changes

    Impressive spring workouts have caught his teammates' attention and buoyed Chapman's spirits and probably his chances of making the team, although early indications are he will open the season in the minors to ease his adjustment.

    Chapman pitched a scoreless inning in an intrasquad game Thursday, his first game action in more than eight months, and will make his Cactus League debut Monday against the Kansas City Royals.

    He's facing significant changes from the type of game he's used to.

    "In Cuba, you get ready to play 90 games. Here, you get ready for 162," says Royals catcher Brayan Pena, who defected at 17. "In Cuba, the starters pitch every six days. Here, it's every five. He's got the talent. He just needs to learn the game here, study opposing hitters, watch lots of video, read the scouting reports. You don't have that in Cuba."

    Chapman already has debunked some of the early perceptions about him, including questions about his secondary pitches and receptiveness to coaching.

    Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who is building the club around a foundation of young pitching in hopes of ending a stretch of nine consecutive losing seasons, suggests those doubts might have been spread by teams competing for his services. Jocketty points out that, besides the crackling fastball, Chapman has shown a sharp slider and an improved curve and changeup.

    Fossas says Chapman fixed a flaw in his mechanics after a quick glance at the television.

    "He told me he'd never seen himself on video, but one time in Cuba he was watching the news and he saw himself make one pitch, and based on that he was able to correct his mechanics," Fossas says. "That was the big difference between what we'd heard, that he didn't throw strikes, and what we're seeing now."

    Difficult episodes

    For all of the raves, there have been some stumbles.

    Chapman displayed little maturity in a WBC game against Japan when, upset over ball-strike calls, he visibly fumed on the mound. His stats for the tournament: a 0-1 record and a 5.68 ERA in 6⅓ innings over two starts.

    Even Ramirez, who played with Chapman for two years on the Cuban national team and predicts he'll become a star in short order, says Chapman will have to learn to control his emotions on the field.

    "He can't get upset with the umpires," Ramirez says. "That's something he'll need to deal with, because the strike zone here is tighter."

    In November, Chapman fired his original agent, Edwin Mejia, who helped him establish residency in the small European country of Andorra to facilitate his free agency. He's represented by Hendricks Sports Management, which Mejia's agency, Athletes Premier International (API), sued in December, alleging "malicious interference." SI.com reported Tuesday that the parties have reached an out-of-court settlement.

    The sudden switch in representation raised red flags around baseball, though perhaps not as much as photos that made the Internet rounds showing Chapman alongside lingerie-clad women at a Boston club. They were posted on the API Facebook page, and Chapman says the episode marked the breaking point in a relationship that was starting to sour.

    "People might have thought I was partying all the time," Chapman says. "I only went because his (Mejia's) friends invited him and they said they wanted to meet me. So I said OK and went, and look what happened."

    If Chapman has been partying frequently, his lean, athletic body has yet to show the effects. At 6-4, 185 pounds, and with huge hands, he has the kind of build that can fling high-velocity fastballs with little apparent effort.

    His youth and fresh arm set him apart from previous Cuban pitchers who reached the majors past their prime, such as Jose Contreras, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez and Rene Arocha, all of whom logged heavy innings before defecting.

    Chapman, who converted from first base to pitching at 15, threw 341⅔ innings in four-plus seasons in Cuba's National Series, making him less prone to future injury. His overall record was 24-21 with a 3.72 ERA and two strikeout titles but also 210 walks.

    "When Dr. (Timothy) Kremchek did the physical and did the MRI of the shoulder and the elbow, he said it was unbelievable how pristine it was," Jocketty says.

    Chapman's mind is relatively fresh as well, at least when it comes to life in the USA, where he has lived for about five months. His biggest surprise has been his newfound freedom to express his thoughts without fear of governmental repercussion.

    "It's a relief not to have to worry that this guy might be watching you or that the other one might be listening to what you say so he can pass it along," Chapman says. "I don't have to worry about that anymore."

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseb...-pitcher_N.htm

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    "You don't have anybody here?" asked Cueto, who hails from the Dominican Republic.

    "No, I'm by myself here."

    "You have to bring your family. It's good to be with your family, your mom. Do you have any kids?"

    "A girl. I haven't met her."

    "You haven't met her?"

    "No, because she was born right when I was leaving."
    Man, that's got to be so tough to make a decision to defect like that when you know your child is about to be born.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    C. Trent has video of Chapman's full inning yesterday:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7YtV...layer_embedded

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Man, that's got to be so tough to make a decision to defect like that when you know your child is about to be born.
    Hopefully he's paying child support Maybe James Brooks could give him some peer support.
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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Chapman ready to take big stage
    Hard-throwing Cuban set for spring debut
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    03/07/10 4:27 PM EST

    GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Much like the unveiling of a highly-anticipated concept car at the auto show, the Reds will debut their big and bold investment on Monday.

    For the first time this spring, when the Reds play the Royals at Goodyear Ballpark, Cuban pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman will face batters wearing different uniforms and his stadium performance will be open to the public.

    Chapman, who is competing for the fifth spot in Cincinnati's rotation, will work out of the bullpen behind starter Bronson Arroyo against Kansas City during the 2:05 p.m. CT game.

    "He'll be all right," Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez said. "He's been playing baseball a long time. It'll be exciting to see him and see how he does."

    Since Spring Training has opened, Chapman has gone through the regular paces of any other pitcher in camp. The 22-year-old has thrown in bullpen sessions and live batting practice vs. teammates. He also pitched one scoreless inning against Reds hitters on Thursday in an intrasquad game that was closed to the public.

    Moving to a bigger stage shouldn't negatively affect Chapman, as far as Reds manager Dusty Baker was concerned.

    "If you've pitched in front of the world and you've pitched for food, you know what I mean? I expect him to do well,' Baker said on Sunday. "I don't think any league he's going to play in will compare to that, when you've pitched for food."

    Because of Sunday's rainout against the Brewers, the Reds juggled their pitching assignments and briefly assigned Chapman to start a "B" game Monday morning on a practice field. Then it was quickly decided to put Chapman back on the list to face Kansas City. Homer Bailey will start the "B" game instead.

    "We thought this would get [Chapman] more acclimated," Baker said. "We'll let Chapman pitch in the big arena."

    Several members of the national media are expected to turn out to see Chapman's spring debut, which won't be televised. For months, there has been intense interest in the young and unpolished left-hander from Cuba, who is able to throw a fastball 100 mph.

    Chapman defected from Cuba in July during a tournament in the Netherlands. After he was declared a free agent in September, numerous teams watched him work out and the bidding for his services was brisk. Quietly, the Reds remained in the hunt the whole time and shocked everyone when they emerged as the team to land Chapman with a six-year deal worth $30.25 million.

    Cincinnati's front office has maintained that it will give Chapman a legitimate look for the fifth spot, partially depending on how he adjusts to big league life and American culture. Starting in the Minors is also a viable option. How he does in game situations will also play a large role in the decision-making process.

    Micah Owings, Matt Maloney, Travis Wood, Justin Lehr and Mike Lincoln are also competing for the fifth spot.

    Through the first few weeks of camp, Chapman has pleasantly surprised the Reds by being more advanced than expected. Many reports knocked his lack of secondary pitches beyond the fastball, but Chapman has shown great command of his changeup and slider and has repeatedly baffled the Reds' hitters that have stepped into the box.

    "I feel good about the camp so far and I feel good about my condition," Chapman said through an interpreter. "I feel really good about the changeup. I'm working really hard on it and I think it's going to get better."

    During Thursday's intrasquad, Chapman threw 17 pitches, including 12 for strikes. His only hit allowed was a Yonder Alonso double. Chapman twice reached 97 mph on the radar gun and dipped down with an 82-mph changeup that tied up batter Wilkin Castillo's bat into knots. The only mistake the pitcher made was nailing Todd Frazier in the right leg with a 95-mph fastball. Frazier had to come out of the game but would be OK.

    Now, it will be the Royals' turn to see what they can do against Chapman.

    "I've never seen him throw but he's throwing Monday and hopefully I'll get a chance to see what he's got," Royals first baseman Billy Butler said. "Not many people throw 100 miles an hour, let alone a lefty, so I think he deserves everything he got. That's an impressive arm."

    The only member of the Royals that knows what hitters might be dealing with is catcher Brayan Pena, who is also a Cuban defector. Before Chapman signed, Pena caught one of his bullpen sessions in Miami.

    Other Cuban Major Leaguers like Kendry Morales and Yuniesky Betancourt were also present and Pena noted that everyone was in awe.

    "His fastball has got tremendous life and he's got pretty good control," Pena said. "I was so impressed. Kendry Morales was hitting against him in live BP and he was telling me that he hasn't seen a left-hander that throws that hard in a while in the big leagues or the Dominican or in Triple-A. He was pretty impressive -- he's probably 6-foot-4 or 6-5 and he's got pretty long arms and when he pitches, he looks like he's giving you a handshake. That's how close you see him.

    "I hope he has a great career in the big leagues. He's a very good kid."

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/...=.jsp&c_id=cin

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    The difference in speed on the change up to K Castillo compared to the gas was really noteworthy from that angle. And Hanigan was reeealll late on his swinging K. Good stuff.

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Tripods are like $30.

    just sayin'.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Tripods are like $30.

    just sayin'.
    I'm not biting the hand that feeds. As between Cloverfield and nothing, I am okay with Cloverfield and it got steadier as the pitches wore on.

    17 pitches, 12 for strikes. Not half bad. And no one really comfortable digging in after Frazier, I would guess...

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Tripods are like $30.

    just sayin'.
    Probably the only time Trent is sitting in the stands the rest of the year.

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    Re: More positive reaction on Chapman

    Has anybody drummed up the nickname "The Cuban Missile Crisis" yet?
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