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Red Sox infielder Justin Turner takes fastball to face, goes to hospital

A bloodied Justin Turner stayed down for several moments after being hit in the face with a pitch during a spring training game. (Gerald Herbert/AP)
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Boston Red Sox infielder Justin Turner was taken to a hospital Monday after being hit in the face with a fastball during a spring training game.

Turner’s wife later said the 38-year-old needed 16 stitches and suffered “a lot of swelling” but had no fractures and cleared a brain scan. She added that he had returned home and was “resting.”

The scary incident took place in the bottom of the first inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers in Fort Myers, Fla. Detroit right-hander Matt Manning threw a pitch that sailed toward Turner’s head with too much speed for the Boston player to evade it.

Upon getting hit, Turner immediately crumpled to the ground and remained down for several moments while receiving medical attention. Eventually, he was able to walk off the field with some help while a towel was held to his bleeding face.

Following the incident, the Red Sox issued a statement in which they said Turner was “stable, alert and in good spirits given the circumstances” after being taken to a hospital. Turner was monitored for a concussion, the team said, and received treatment for soft-tissue injuries.

“Anything that is above the shoulders, it’s always scary,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora told reporters. “So you hear [it], you go and you just react. There was a lot of blood there.”

Manning described his pitch as a “complete accident.”

“I got a swing and miss on a ball kind of up in the zone,” said the 25-year-old, a first-round pick by the Tigers in 2016 who has made 30 major league starts over the past two years, “so I tried to go back to it, and it just got away from me.”

Cora said he hoped Turner could rejoin the team “sooner rather than later.”

A two-time all-star with the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom he helped win the World Series in 2020, Turner is entering his first season with the Red Sox after they signed him in January to a reported one-year deal with a player option for 2024. Assuming good health this season, Turner could help man first base for Boston in addition to seeing much of his action as the designated hitter.

Turner spent nine seasons with Los Angeles and was named the National League Championship Series MVP in 2017. He also played for the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles.