Blue Jays right fielder Randal Grichuk narrowly avoided a gruesome outcome during Sunday’s game against the Indians. In the fourth inning, Brandon Guyer lofted a foul ball to right field, prompting both Grichuk and first baseman Justin Smoak to chase it down. As they approached the wall, the security guard sitting along the first base line grabbed his stool and had started to get out of the way when Grichuk came sliding in to make the catch and inadvertently collided with the edge of the chair.
Both men immediately fell to the ground as Grichuk made contact with the stool, and he was quickly helped off the field with what appeared to be a facial injury of some kind. While the Blue Jays have yet to announce an official diagnosis, the outfielder was evaluated for a concussion after exiting the game and is expected to undergo follow-up imaging to his face in order to determine whether he sustained any fractures in the collision.
Following the incident, Billy McKinney shifted from left to right field and Teoscar Hernandez was brought in to cover the empty spot in the lineup. Grichuk went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts against Cleveland right-hander Mike Clevinger before making his eventual departure in the fourth. The 27-year-old is batting .247/.303/.488 with 21 home runs and a .791 OPS over 403 plate appearances this year.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.