Considering how hard Tampa Bay’s Sean Rodriguez hit Matt Wieters while trying to score in the fourth inning tonight, it’s amazing that the Orioles’ catcher escaped with nothing more serious than cuts in his mouth and on his ear.
Rodriguez was trying to score on a single to right field after Matt Joyce already had crossed the plate. Nick Markakis threw to Robert Andino, who fired the ball home for the out.
“You take a look, and you saw that they’re both tagging,” Wieters said. “With the way Nicky can get the ball in, Andino made a great throw to get the ball in to the plate. You take a peek when he’s about halfway down the line. I knew it was going to be a bang-bang play. I wasn’t sure he was going to slide or come in strong, and I made sure to hold onto the ball.
“He came in hard, but I felt OK after. I just walked out to the mound to make sure I was fine, but no, everything was fine the whole way. I bit my lip, and that was about the worst of it.”
Wieters thought it was a clean play.
“I took away the plate,” he said. “You always check the replay and I took away the plate pretty good. They always have the option to go around, but at the same time, if you take away the plate, they always have the option to run over you too, so it’s part of the game. Thank God I hung onto the ball.”
Was this the hardest he’s been hit?
“I got hit a couple of times in the minor leagues by guys,” he said. “That’s up there, and I still had the ball.”
Rodriguez nailed Wieters in the jaw.
“It’s something where you feel it, but at the same time, once I checked out the jaw, I was ready to go,” Wieters said.