Heath Bell threw a runaway fastball that made a sickening sound when it hit Omar Infante on the left side of the jaw in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday night. Infante got to his feet quickly, but was bloodied, obviously in pain and probably scared. With towels covering Infante's face, Kansas City Royals athletic trainers walked him into the clubhouse and the team played on without him.
UPDATE: Infante had no broken bones and no concussion after undergoing tests. He received six stitches.
#Royals' Escobar tells me he spoke with Infante right before Infante left for hospital. Esky said Infante couldn't talk but gave a thumbs up
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@jflanagankc) April 8, 2014
That Infante "couldn't talk" is almost as scary as the sound or the sight of him being hit.
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star said Infante was receiving stitches along with X-rays to determine if his jaw was broken, and those tests came back negative. The Royals also were concerned about a possible concussion, but he's clear for that, too.
Bell, who calls Infante "a good friend," was remorseful:
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 8, 2014
He probably means emotionally.
Kansas City won a bidding war with the Yankees and signed Infante to a four-year, $30.25 million contract during the offseason. The Royals had the worst offensive output from second base a season ago and hoped Infante — who batted .318/.345/.450 with 10 home runs for the Tigers in 2013 — would lock down that position. He also bats second in the order.
The Royals finished the game Monday with Danny Valencia playing second base; Johnny Giavotella, playing at Class AAA, has major league experience.
The Rays also had a key injury, losing left-hander Matt Moore to a sore elbow in the fifth. That ruined a promising pitching matchup against Jason Vargas, who took a shutout to the ninth. Escobar had the game's biggest hit, a three-run double in the sixth.
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