UPDATE: Good news. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that tests on Layne came back normal. However, he’ll sit out the rest of weekend series as a precaution.
8:58 PM: Scary moment in tonight’s game between the Twins and Reds, as home plate umpire Jerry Layne was hit on the left side of his head by a broken bat in the fourth inning.
The incident took place when Devin Mesoraco’s bat cracked on a ground ball. The barrel of the bat connected with Layne, who stumbled for a moment before falling to the ground. He was unable to continue in the game, but walked off the field under his own power. Second base umpire Bob Davidson took over behind the plate.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that Layne was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati for examination. He never lost consciousness and the early word is that he didn’t suffer a concussion, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears that he’ll be checked for fractures of his orbital bone.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.