Though he didn’t feel great, Kurt Suzuki wasn’t particularly worried Sunday afternoon after a bounced pitch struck him in the neck. You don’t spend two decades as a catcher without getting banged up in every conceivable manner, and sure enough Suzuki had experienced this particular situation before and knew it wasn’t as serious as everyone else inside Nationals Park assumed it was.
“I just knew what was possibly coming, that’s all,” he said.
What was possibly coming was what did come many years ago when Suzuki was catching for Henry Perrine Baldwin High School in Wailuku, Hawaii, and took a ball off his neck.
“I passed out and woke up, and my dad was sitting over me with medics and the ambulance,” he said. “A little scary.”
Suzuki, though, knew he was fine soon after, so he wasn’t worried about any long-term consequences of Sunday’s incident. He did, however, want to make sure he didn’t suffer the same fate on the field in front of 30,000 fans.
“I just said: ‘Get (me) off (the field) now before I get into my crouch and fall over,’” he said. “That wouldn’t be good.”
No, it wouldn’t. Suzuki was helped off the field and down the dugout steps by manager Davey Martinez and director of athletic training Paul Lessard. He was checked out by doctors and cleared of any concussion concerns. His neck was stiff, and he had some mild pain in the back of his head, but after resting a little while he was good to go.
“I felt fine once I went home,” the 35-year-old said. “I had to feel fine. My kids are here.”
Suzuki was in good spirits today, joking about the play. He’s not in tonight’s lineup against the Phillies, but Martinez said that was merely a reflection of his desire to keep Yan Gomes paired with starter Patrick Corbin.
“If we need Suzuki later on, he’s available,” the manager said.
* Martinez did make one significant change to tonight’s lineup, putting Victor Robles in the No. 9 spot. It’s the first time the Nationals’ pitcher has batted eighth since May 19, but Martinez had been thinking about making this move back to the batting order he used earlier in the season.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a while, and I thought today would be perfect for him,” he said. “We started the season there and I just wanted to get him back down there. He did well down there. It gives us a chance to flip the lineup over to the top.”
Robles has hit better in the ninth spot (.253/.309/.467 in 22 games) than the second spot (.209/.263/.337 in 23 games) or eighth spot (.176/.237/.265 in 10 games), though his best numbers actually have come when batting seventh (.346/.500/.577 in nine games).
* Anthony Rendon’s All-Star campaign hasn’t been gaining any traction, despite the slugger’s torrid performance at the plate. Major League Baseball released its second round of All-Star voting today, and Rendon remains a distant fifth among all National League third basemen, same as he was one week ago.
Rendon, who is batting .321 with 16 homers, 50 RBIs and a 1.075 OPS, has received 378,761 votes to date. That ranks well behind the four top vote-getters: Nolan Arenado (1,475,825), Kris Bryant (850,758), Josh Donaldson (550,947) and Justin Turner (512,237).
Rendon leads all NL third basemen with a 3.2 WAR, according to Fangraphs.