For the second time in less than a week, a major league pitcher was struck in the face by a line drive.
Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays fared better than Aroldis Chapman, the Cincinnati Reds closer who underwent surgery for facial fractures after his 99-mph pitch came back at him. Moore shed a little blood and has a fat lip to show for his encounter with a ball off the bat of the Boston Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Thank you for all the thoughts and concerns.. After a few stitches and a fat lip I definitely feel fortunate today..— Matt Moore (@MattyMoe55) March 23, 2014
Although he got his glove up in time to partially deflect the ball, he was done for the day, leaving to get at least four stitches in his lip.
“It doesn’t look like there’s anything awful, so he should be okay to pitch, I would think,” Manager Joe Maddon said (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Times). “Right now there’s no dizziness, I understand, no headaches. That’s a good thing. Let’s just wait until [Monday] and see what’s concluded.”
Moore, 24, will have X-rays to make sure there are no broken bones. He said he had some soreness in his jaw, but considers himself “extremely fortunate” and passed a concussion test.
“It happened very fast,” he said. “I’m not for certain at all. As far as what it hit, I can’t believe that it really just came off his bat and hit me in the face and this is what happened. I would think it would be a little more. I think I’d be missing some teeth.”
Moore was far luckier than Chapman, who was struck Wednesday night in a Cactus League game and is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks after having surgery in which a metal plate was used to repair facial fractures. Chapman joined the Reds on Sunday and said he was recovering well from the scary incident.
“After watching the video many, many times, every time I see it I feel happy,” Chapman said (via the the Los Angeles Times). “This could have been something worse. The way I feel now, I have no pain right now. I put a picture on Instagram. So many people around contacted me to see how I was. I couldn’t contact them all so I put out the picture to let them know how good I felt.”
Pitcher safety is a growing concern among baseball officials, but there isn’t much that could have been done to protect either Chapman or Moore.
“It always is [scary], and I’m sure there’s going to be more talk about [protective] hats, but that wouldn’t have protected [Moore],” Maddon said (via TBO.com’s Roger Mooney). “It’s a necessary evil within the game. It happens, it’s awful, but you got to keep playing and move on.”