John Lannan, who was hit in the face by a Ty Wigginton line drive during the Nationals' game with the Rockies on Friday night, was diagnosed with a nasal contusion and is day-to-day. And though he was taken to a local hospital for further testing, the Nationals are optimistic he escaped any lasting injury and might even be able to make his next start after the All-Star break.
Wigginton hit a rocket back at Lannan in the fourth inning of the Rockies' 3-2 win over the Nationals, and the pitcher fell to the ground immediately while the play was still going on. Jonathan Herrera scored the Rockies' first run, and Lannan walked off the mound immediately after the play, with his glove covering his face after the shot had opened a cut on the left side of his nose.
X-rays were negative, though, and after the game, most Nationals players were left feeling Lannan had dodged a bullet when his glove caught just enough of the ball to prevent a major injury.
"I was more worried that something real bad had happened when he turned his head sideways," second baseman Danny Espinosa said. "He's fortunate."
Several players said they thought they heard something that sounded like the ball grazing the top of a glove, and on replay, it looked like Lannan might have deflected the ball just enough to avoid a direct shot to his face.
Davey Johnson's postgame press conference after the Nats fall 3-2 to the Rockies
"That ball was smoked. The good news is, he got his glove up to deflect it so it wouldn't be too bad," manager Davey Johnson said. "He may not even miss a start with the All-Star break. That's a blessing there. It was dangerous."
From a baseball standpoint, the injury took Lannan out of the game on a night where he'd been pitching well; he had five strikeouts in the first 3 1/3 innings, and though he'd given up two hits prior to Wigginton's drive, he retired the first 10 batters he faced.
The Nationals went from having Lannan in the game to quickly calling on Ryan Mattheus, who allowed a single and brought in a run with a balk after he started his delivery, stopped and started again. The Nationals didn't allow another run, but that was enough for the Rockies to get the win, and without Lannan, Johnson had to turn to his bullpen for another long night of work.
"The bullpen did a great job under tough circumstances," Johnson said. "Those are you worst nightmares, with the pitcher going early and you didn't have long relief. But the bullpen was outstanding. They kept us in the ballgame. We had a chance to win."