Infante hit in face, tested for possible broken jaw
Struck by Bell pitch, Royals infielder also being checked for concussion
KANSAS CITY -- Royals second baseman Omar Infante was undergoing tests to determine if his jaw was broken or if he had a concussion after being hit with a pitch in Monday night's 4-2 win over the Rays.
Infante was struck in the jaw by 2-2 pitch from Tampa Bay right-hander Heath Bell as he led off the bottom of the seventh inning. He walked away from the plate and was attended to by Royals head athletic trainer Nick Kenney, then left through the dugout. He was replaced by Danny Valencia.
"They put a number of stitches in there to close the cut and they're going to go scan it to see if his jaw's fractured. But we'll know more later," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Infante also will undergo a battery of tests to determine if he sustained a concussion.
"He got the cut but he's got some real soreness up here [right side of head] and that's from the jaw getting smoked on the [left] side. Yeah, we're worried about a concussion, too," Yost said.
Yost described the effect as like taking a punch in the jaw.
"He was bleeding tremendously from the cut and I didn't know until they had taken him upstairs that he got hit on the jaw," Yost said. "I thought he got hit in the face somewhere. I had no idea because when we got there they had the towel and there was blood all down his shirt."
Bell appeared to be upset in the Rays' clubhouse after the game.
"My prayers go out to him. I went and asked the umpire how bad did I get him, what did he see. He said it got him on the chin pretty good. I was just happy it wasn't the eye. I've played against Omar for 10 or 15 years. I hope he has a speedy recovery," Bell said.
"I was trying to throw a sinker and just let it run and it ran too much and just didn't finish it. It went up and in. ... I feel really bad. I know he feels bad, but I feel worse."
Bell said he considered Infante a friend.
"You never want to hit anybody like that. Especially a good friend," Bell said. "Before the game I was saying 'Hi' to him."
Infante's partner at shortstop, Alcides Escobar, initially wasn't sure where the ball struck him.
"I was really scared because I thought the ball hit him on the head and the eyes, but it hit him right on the chin," Escobar said.
Yost was also shaken by the incident.
"It was kind of a cool night and I noticed I broke out in a sweat real quick," Yost said. "So it definitely affected me. We all felt better when we found out it was in the chin area instead of in the eye or in the nose. That gave us all a bit of a sense of relief, that it wasn't as serious as it could have been. But it shakes you for sure because it's a very ugly sound to see somebody get hit in the face."
The Royals made no immediate decisions about any roster move that might be prompted by the injury. They have experienced second basemen available at Triple-A Omaha in Johnny Giavotella, Jason Donald and Christian Colon.
"I'm not going to make any decisions until we find out exactly what's going on with Omar and then we'll move forward from there," Yost said.
Depending on the extent of his injuries, it's possible that Infante would go onto the 15-day disabled list.
Yost expressed doubt that he'd reduce his bullpen staff from the present 12 to 11 in order to accommodate another infielder on the 25-man roster. He opened the season with 11 pitchers and that proved unsatisfactory.
"When you start using guys on multiple back-to-back days, day off, back-to-back days, you're going to implode your bullpen in no time. That 12th guy is a big guy to pick up all that slack. So going short again is a bit dangerous," he said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.