Jesus Flores started laughing as he ticked off the places on his body foul tips and bounced pitches have hit him over the past few weeks. He took a Gio Gonzalez curve in the thigh yesterday. A foul ball bruised his finger today. His shoulder got drilled. One pitch last week bounced and hit him in the crotch.
“It’s like, oh my gosh, come on,” Flores said. “Just leave me alone, ball.”
Flores’s most harrowing moment came today in the Nationals’ 4-3 win over Boston. He took a foul ball off his finger, and trainers tended to him immediately. “At the moment, I felt like it was broken,” Flores said. “It was a scary moment.”
A moment passed, and he began to feel better. He balled his hand into a fist. He made a few warmup throws. He stayed in the game.
“Boy, he got it bad,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “It was black and blue when I went out there, and miraculously he could stay in the game. You hate to, in that kind of game, change catchers. He knows the hitters. He knows what to call. It was a gutty move on his part to be able to stay in the game.”
Even without the constant nicks, Flores has been playing a ton for a catcher, anyway. Since May 12, the night Wilson Ramos tore his ACL, Flores has appeared in 21 of 26 games and started 19, despite missing three with a strained hamstring. But he said he doesn’t want a break.
“I’m getting real beat up,” Flores said. “That’s how catchers become tough guys. They’re getting hit all the time.”