Getting beaned in the face is a baseball player’s worst nightmare. Though the sport isn’t usually considered high-risk for brain trauma the way the NFL is often viewed, any player that’s been in the game long enough will eventually have their turn with a scary head injury.
On Thursday, it was the turn for not one, but two star players—Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton and Yankees DH Chase Headley.
Stanton was the first victim of the night after he took an 88-mph fast in the mouth off Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Friers in the 5th inning. Stanton was taken off the field in an ambulance and is reported to have suffered multiple facial fractures, lacerations, and dental damage. He is likely out for the remainder of the season. It’s a big loss for the Marlins squad—Stanton is having an MVP caliber season and entered Thursday’s game with a .285 average and 37 homeruns.
Friers, who seemed to be having control issues prior to hitting Stanton with the pitch, was visibly shaken and appeared to be close to tears in a post-game interview. He was not ejected from the game, though two Marlins players got tossed after benches cleared when Friers hit Stanton’s replacement in the hand with an errant inside pitch.
Though Stanton was hit in the mouth, he was called for a swing and docked a strike. You can watch the play below, but it clearly looks as though he just didn’t have time to dodge a very wild pitch.
I don’t think Friers intentionally hit the poor guy—there’s a lot of unwritten rules in baseball and not throwing at peoples’ heads is one of them. I also don’t think Stanton brought this on by diving into the ball or by not knowing how to take a hit by pitch. There just really wasn’t any place for him to go and unfortunately that’s the breaks of the game.
Yankees batter Chase Headley went down in the 9th inning after taking a ball to the chin from Rays pitcher Jake McGee. Headley seemed to escape in a little better condition than Stanton, but was taken to the hospital for precautionary scans and X-rays to make sure there was not serious trauma. Manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game that Headley was likely a scratch for their series against Baltimore.
Chase Headley takes a pitch right off the chin pic.twitter.com/DwIISSl2dW
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) September 12, 2014
No one ever likes to see players get hurt and the BYB family hopes that both Stanton and Headley recover and return to the field soon.
--Alexis Garcia, BYB's "Eye on MLB" Columnist
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