With so much focus lately on the dangers pitchers face standing 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate, it might be easy to lose sight of just how dangerous it is for batters to be in the same position. Unfortunately for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Collin Cowgill, he won't need a reminder any time soon. Not after suffering a broken nose and broken right thumb after being hit with a pitch on Saturday night.
During his eighth inning at-bat against Texas Rangers reliever Matt West, Cowgill squared around on a sacrifice bunt attempt. West's pitch ended up riding in on Cowgill and struck him first on the thumb, which was still gripping and the bat, and then deflected into his face hitting him on the bridge of the nose. The shot to the nose caused a nasty gash that immediately started gushing blood. Cowgill was quickly escorted off the field with a towel to his face.
According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Cowgill was stitched up in the Angels clubhouse before being taken to a local hospital for further examination. X-Rays there discovered the fractures. Fletcher says the nose injury will require surgery, and it's expected Cowgill will miss for 4-5 weeks.
Needless to say, that's the most painful plate appearance of the season so far. But as manager Mike Scioscia later pointed out, it easily could have been worse.
“As bad as it was, thank God he didn’t get hit in the eye or the teeth,” Scioscia said. “It’s obviously a tough break, and it’s a terrible injury, but the reality is, it could have been worse.”
At first glance, it appeared to be a direct shot to the face, which could have been disastrous. He's very fortunate he was able to react and shield himself, even slightly with the bat.
As for the pitch itself, there was no obvious intent on West's part. It's just one of those things that happens in baseball. There's a certain degree of risk that goes along with every pitch, but thankfully on this occasion our worst fears weren't realized.
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