When a batter gets hit by a pitch, most of the time he gets to take first base. But that’s not always the case. Adrian Sanchez, a 27-year-old rookie infielder for the Washington Nationals, learned that the hard way on Saturday.
In the eighth inning of the Nats’ game against the New York Mets, Sanchez was facing newly activated Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia. Familia was making his first appearance since mid-May, when he had surgery to remove a blood clot from his right arm. And while Familia might have been a little rusty, what happened next wasn’t really his fault. Sanchez squared to bunt, but he missed — and Familia’s 96 mph pitch socked him right in the chest.
Sanchez crumpled to the ground immediately, clearly in a tremendous amount of pain. He was almost flat on his stomach, but he had his arms underneath his chest. It actually wasn’t clear right away if the pitch had hit Sanchez’s hand or his chest, but once he sat up he pointed to a spot on his chest. Thankfully this wasn’t a cartoon and there wasn’t a giant hole in his chest where the ball just went right through.
So the good news is that Sanchez was fine. (Though he’s going to have a heck of a bruise.) The bad news? He needed to finish the at-bat. Even though he was hit by a pitch, he was squaring to bunt. He just missed hitting the pitch with the bat, so it counted as a strike instead of a HBP.
Adrian Sanchez is one tough hombre. Gets drilled in the chest with 96 after squaring to bunt and he's going to stay in and hit.
— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) August 26, 2017
One tough hombre is right. Swinging the bat had to be pretty painful for Sanchez, but he powered through. And he delivered! Sanchez fouled off the next pitch, and then took two balls before yanking the 2-2 pitch into left field for a run-scoring single. The Nationals were already leading 6-4, but Sanchez’s RBI put a little more distance between the Nats and Mets, and it started off what would be a three-run inning.
We applaud you, Adrian Sanchez, for that impressive feat of resilience. And seriously, put some ice on that bruise.
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