Stanton plunked in helmet by pitch
JUPITER, Fla. — Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton was struck in the helmet by a fastball during a simulated game on Wednesday afternoon, and the All-Star will go through a set of tests to determine the severity of the blow.
On Field 4 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex, prospect Jose Fernandez’s first-pitch fastball sailed up and clipped Stanton in the helmet.
“I wasn’t dizzy or nothing,” Stanton said after being immediately evaluated by the Marlins training staff. “I saw a little grayness, fuzziness on the outside of my eyes but it’s subsiding now.”
Stanton believes he is fine, but he will is scheduled for more evaluation.
“Going to see doctor,” he said. “We’re going to go make sure everything is good. We’re going for a quick checkup right now.”
The slugger also doesn’t believe he will miss any practice time.
“Hopefully, not,” he said. “But I would say no.”
After being plunked, Stanton walked to the dugout, where he was observed by Mike Kozak, Miami’s assistant trainer.
A few minutes later, Stanton walked to a cart, pausing briefly to sign a few autographs. But he was driven back to the clubhouse by Kozak in a golf cart.
Fernandez, too, was shaken by the incident.
“Normally, I’ve got a lot of control and I throw a lot of strikes,” the hard-throwing right-hander said. “That was just one pitch. The ball slipped out of my hands. It went to the wrong side. I’m still worried about it.”
A year ago, Fernandez said he hit just two batters with pitches.
When Fernandez returned to the clubhouse, he immediately went to check on Stanton.
Stanton eased the mood by laughing a bit.
“When I asked him how he’s doing, he laughed. He said he is fine. I told him, I’m sorry,” Fernandez said. “You know, nobody is trying to hit anybody. Same team and everything. He just laughed, said, ‘Bro, it’s baseball. It happens.’
“When I saw it, I got nervous. I got nervous, not pitching. I know it was over 95 mph. I know it was. It’s a scary moment.”
Stanton told Fernandez: “Don’t dwell on it. We’re good. … Obviously, you didn’t mean to. No big deal.”
The incident quieted what was an enthusiastic morning where Marlins players first did some drills before playing in a simulated game.
Fernandez, a hard-throwing right-hander, had retired the first three batters he face, all on ground outs, before Stanton stepped to the plate.
Stanton had no time to react.
“It’s happened before and it will happen another time,” he said. “It hit me first, and the helmet decided to come in after the impact.”
Fernandez, 20, is the Marlins’ top prospect, and he ranks seventh on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect List.
Stanton, 23, was second in the National League in home runs last year with 37. He is scheduled to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
– Joe Frisaro