Scary news out of the Cactus League today, as Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt was hit in the face by a comebacker during a game against the Royals.
Betancourt was able to walk off the field under his own power and Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that he suffered a contusion on the right side of his jaw. He’s displaying no concussion symptoms, which is great news.
Betancourt, who turns 40 in April, had Tommy John surgery in August of 2013 and only pitched in the minors last season while rehabbing. He’s hoping to make the Rockies’ bullpen as a non-roster invitee this spring.
UPDATE: Betancourt told Thomas Harding of MLB.com that it’s not a big deal and that he even ate after the game. While he’s not sure how he’ll feel tomorrow, he compared the pain to having a dental procedure done. He managed to get his glove up enough to partially deflect the ball before it hit him, so it sounds like it could have been a lot worse. Good news.
The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.
Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.
The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.
Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.