Encarnacion struck in face by foul ball
Outfielder hit while waiting to pinch-hit in on deck circle
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Juan Encarnacion was struck in the face by a foul ball in the sixth inning of Friday night's game against the Reds. Encarnacion sustained what the team called a "left eye injury," though further details on his condition were scarce following the game.
Encarnacion was conscious after the incident and was taken to a local hospital, where he underwent a CT scan. Head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg accompanied Encarnacion to the hospital.
"The ball hit him square in the eye," manager Tony La Russa said. "Hopefully it got more of the socket. Nobody's celebrating, that's for sure. We just won tonight's game, and there isn't anybody going crazy. That's out of respect and concern."
Encarnacion was in the on-deck circle, waiting to pinch-hit for pitcher Randy Flores.
With Jon Coutlangus on the mound for Cincinnati, Aaron Miles fouled off an 0-1 pitch. The ball was on top of Encarnacion before he had any chance to react, and the outfielder crumpled immediately to the ground. Miles was still shaken after the game.
"I just hope and pray that his eye is OK and he'll be able to do everything and continue his career," Miles said. "It's a scary thing. It's not a good feeling. You've got to know that it comes with the territory of being in the vicinity. Fans included. It's a dangerous thing. You don't think it, but being a fan right there or a player or a coach, close to the action, it's tough. I just hope he's all right."
Encarnacion stayed on the turf for several minutes before being helped up and walking off the field. He left the field of play with a towel covering the left side of his face. Jim Edmonds helped walk him into the training room.
"That's about as bad as it gets, as far as what you can see on a baseball field," Edmonds said. "I think it's everybody's biggest fear, any time a ball gets up in the face area, whether it's bounced, hit, thrown, deflected. That's why there are so many arguments and fights over balls being thrown up and in. It's scary. I was just too close, I guess, to the situation."
Miles eventually struck out, and So Taguchi pinch-hit instead of Encarnacion.
For the year, Encarnacion is batting .283 with a .324 on-base percentage and a .445 slugging percentage. He's hit nine home runs. The veteran right fielder has seen his playing time diminish in recent weeks due to the arrival and success of Rick Ankiel.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.