Considering what happened, most thought Diamondbacks’ right-hander Archie Bradley was one lucky man.
After struck with a line drive off the bat of the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, measured at 115 miles per hour Tuesday night, the fear was Bradley could have suffered a career-ending injury along with a certain degree of physical impairment.
Telling reporters after the game Tuesday that “it’s not pretty to look at the mirror,” Bradley’s sense of humor and character was clearly prevalent, and help ease the 22-year-old through his ordeal. On the day after, it was revealed the Muskogee, Oklahoma native suffered a right sinus fracture, and subsequently placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The immediate plan is patience for the swelling on the right side of Bradleys’ face to subside and for the broken bone to heal. Manager Chip Hale said before Wednesday’s game with the Colorado Rockies in Chase Field that he hopes Bradley can return to baseball activity within in the next five days or so.
In the meantime, the Diamondbacks called up reliever Enrique Burgos (six saves in seven appearances for the BayBears thus far in 2015) from Double-AA Mobile, but Bradley’s positon in the rotation is still to be determined.
“Everything is positive, considering what happened,” Hale said Wednesday. “Regarding his spot in the rotation, there are some decisions which have to be made.”
While rare, a pitcher struck with the line drive is most harrowing and traumatic.
Perhaps to the most noted in baseball history was the plight of Cleveland left-hander Herb Score, who was struck by a liner off the bat of the Yankees’ Gil McDougald on May 7, 1957. Score returned for the 1958 season, but never fully recovered.
“We had a pitcher, Juan Nicasio, who was hit in the face in a similar situation,” said Rockies’ shortstop Troy Tulowitzki before Wednesday game. “But he broke his neck and also had eye trouble. He never fully recovered. (What happened to Bradley) is tough to watch. That really puts the game in perspective, and all you ask it to stay healthy.”
Overall, the experience shook the Rockies’ character.
“That was the worst I’ve seen,’” said Colorado manager Walt Weiss before Wednesday’s game. “It was tough to watch. We’re happy that (Bradley) will be okay. It’s was pretty amazing, because this could have been a lot worse. It’s still bad.”
At the same time, Hale related an experience similar to what Bradley sustained. In fact, Hale was witness to two devastating accidents.
As a bench coach to manager Bob Melvin in Oakland, Hale saw former Diamondback Brandon McCarthy hit with a line drive to his head in September, 2012. During a college game when Hale played for the University of Arizona, there was a comparable experience.
“It was in 1985, and we were playing at Stanford,” Hale recalled. “We had a guy name Mike Young on the mound and that guy was good. He was a sure-fire, first round pick. When he was hit with a liner in the face, I rushed in from second base. All I saw was blood, and after that, he could barely see. The injury still affects him.”
For now, Burgos takes Bradley spot on the roster, and nearly made the 25-man squad out of spring training.
In 12 spring games, Burgos, a native of Panama City, Panama, turned in a 1.42 ERA for 12.2 innings of work, and two earned runs. Last season at Advanced-A Visalia, he recorded 29 saves in 30 save opportunities. His production led the California League and he tied for second in appearances with 55.
Coming out of spring training, Burgos was in dead heat with Andrew Chafin for the final roster spot.
“We decided on Chafin because we had length with him,” Hale said. “But, Burgos was my 26th man.”
ALL-STAR GAME BALLOTING UNDERWAY
On Wednesday, Major League Baseball marked the official start of All-Star Balloting for the 86th All-Star Game. The game is slated for Tuesday, July 14th at Great American Ball Park, the home of the Cincinnati Reds.
For the first time, the All-Star Balloting Program will be conducted exclusively online.
Beginning Wednesday, fans from around the world can cast their votes for starters 35 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites. Fans can vote online or via their mobile devices – with the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. During the voting period, the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot will be available in English and Spanish, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans.