The definition of a rough week would be the week Kansas City Royals outfielder Norichika Aoki is currently experiencing and unfortunately living in front of the entire baseball world. And it could not have hit a lower note — or higher note, depending on perspective — than what happened to him on Friday night in Toronto.
The unfortunate incident played out in the third inning with the red hot Edwin Encarnacion at the plate. Encarnacion blooped a foul ball down the right field line that Aoki pursued from his position in right field and seemed to have measured up as he went into a slide. Unfortunately, Aoki's calculations were just a little bit off, but the baseball was not. Aoki ended up missing it clean, but the ball got him flush in the most sensitive area possible.
And he felt it immediately.
Pure agony, though thankfully the physical pain was only temporary. Aoki was able to catch his breath, shake it off and continue on in the game. The mental anguish, on the other hand, may take a little longer to work out.
Given the week Aoki's had though, if he wasn't soundly defeated before Friday, chances are he'll never be defeated.
Going back to Wednesday, Aoki was nearly drilled by a Jarred Cosart 93 mph fastball during an afternoon game against the Houston Astros. The only thing that saved him was the fact that he actually took a swing at the pitch and nearly spun himself into the ground in the process. As Yahoo's Angela Sun put it, it was straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon as Bugs Bunny's overmatched opponent flailed weakly three times.
Perhaps Aoki thought he could hit it. Perhaps it was self defense. Without question it was hilarious.
But that's not all. On May 24 in Anaheim, Aoki was forced to dive out of the way to avoid being hit by another pitch. In that case, he was bailing from the beginning, and it created one of the coolest baseball photos we'll see all season.
Maybe one of the most painful, too. That wasn't exactly a comfortable landing, but that which does not kill Norchikai Aoki, only makes him, well, more likely to experience another awkward, painful and potentially embarrassing event on a baseball field.
Stay strong, Nori.
BLS H/N: Cut 4
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