BALTIMORE – First things first, Randal Grichuk is fine. A couple cuts inside his mouth, a couple bent teeth that needed some dental work, no stitches, no structural damage and most importantly, no concussion.
Given that he fouled a 93 m.p.h. Dillon Tate sinker into his mouth, that’s remarkably fortunate. If not for the teeth, Grichuk told Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo he was good to finish the at-bat. Seems the 27-year-old from Rosenberg, Texas has a little hockey player in him.
“I told them I wanted to play today,” Grichuk said Friday.
“Charlie said just take the day. I tried to fight Nikki (Huffman, the head trainer) on it a little bit. She said she was scared I might start getting a pretty throbby headache if I ran around today. I just talked to Charlie and I expect to be back in there (Saturday).”
Still, as lucky as Grichuk is that the damage wasn’t worse, he’s also incredibly unlucky that it happened in the first place. It took a perfect storm of pitch movement, body placement and bat path for a ball to fly up from his bat handle right into his jaw.
“I saw the ball in but it had a lot of sink on it,” said Grichuk. “If you watch the replay, it moved quite a bit and kind of looked like it was going to be over the corner, inside. Then it just kind of took off. One of those got to finish the swing types to save myself. Unfortunately, I might have done more damage.”
Stranger still is that it’s not the clear choice for most bizarre thing to ever happen to him on a baseball field. Remember this when he chased a Brandon Guyer popper Sept. 9, 2018?
“Last year was a little more out of the ordinary, I would say,” said Grichuk. “This year? Possible, but definitely not something that’s likely.”
Grichuk avoided a concussion on that play, too, and quipped about not knowing the exit velo off the bat – Statcast didn’t pick it up, either – this time.
The first question he got from Blue Jays training staff was, “did I black out or lose consciousness,” relayed Grichuk. “I was there the whole time. It hit me, I felt blood, spit it out. The only thing that really scared me was when I bit down, the two teeth that were pushed back were the only teeth that were hitting my bottom teeth. I couldn’t bite down, that was the only scary part. Other than that, I felt fine.”
There’s a chance he may need to have a tooth removed down the road, but just like a year ago, things didn’t turn out nearly as bad as they could have.
“Hopefully (that’s it) for this year, at least,” said Grichuk. “We’ll see what happens next year. Hopefully this isn’t a yearly thing now.”