Tampa Bay Rays reliever Heath Bell nailed Kansas City Royals 2B Omar Infante in the cheek with an 89-mph fastball. The bean ball struck Infante, who came to Kansas City after signing a $30.25 million free agent deal last winter, in the bottom of the 7th of Kansas City’s 4-2 victory Monday night.
Omar Infante walked off the field on his own after receiving treatment from Royals’ trainer Nick Kenney, who sopped up blood from Infante’s mouth with a towel. Bell’s wild pitch hit Infante while the second baseman led off the 7th inning after the Royals broke open the game with a 3-run double from struggling SS Alcides Escobar in the 6th. The Royals did not retaliate.
video courtesy of @corkygaines
This terrifying moment happened in a mostly-empty Kauffman Stadium because most people were watching UConn win the NCAA men’s basketball championship over Kentucky 60-54.
Infante was one of three key additions for the Royals last winter, coming to Kansas City along with free agent starting pitcher Jason Vargas and trade acquisition Norichika Aoki. Along with Aoki, Infante has revitalized the top of the Royals order with two hitters with proven ability to get on base. So far this season, lead-off hitter Aoki has a .391 OBP and no. 2 hitter Infante logs in at .423 OBP.
Right now, the extent of Infante’s injury is unknown, leaving fans to wonder when he can return to the lineup.
UPDATE from David Brown at Yahoo.com:
Infante had no broken bones and no concussion after undergoing tests. He received six stitches.
Losing Infante for any significant period could be a crippling blow to Kansas City’s playoff hopes. Right now, however, any on-field achievements are less important than Omar Infante’s well-being. Let’s hope that Infante has suffered no significant brain trauma and that he can continue his career without hindrance.
UPDATE: Heath Bell expresses remorse:
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 8, 2014