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August 12, 2011 at 11:37 PM

Justin Smoak injury weighs on Mariners after loss

smoakface.jpg
(Photo by Associated Press)
That was a horrifying incident in the second inning when Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s grounder took what Kyle Seager after the game termed “an absolutely wicked hop” and struck first baseman Justin Smoak in the face. The picture above shows Smoak being led into the dugout by Mariners’ medical staff.
“It was hit hard, and I don’t know what happened, but it hit something and bounced right up,” Seager said. “It will look nasty. You could hear from the dugout. It was bad.”
Fortunately, the ball apparently hit the bill of Smoak’s cap first, somewhat cushioning the blow. Still, Smoak was in obvious discomfort as he was tended to on the field by the Mariners’ medical staff. It was encouraging to see him walk off on his own power, holding a towel to his face to stem the bleeding.


The initial diagnosis was a fractured nose, but we’ll know more once the results of the CT scan he took last night at the hospital are evaluated.
“Anytime a baseball comes up around the face, it’s scary, and that got him good,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “His nose is fractured. I think, just looking at him here and getting x-rayed, it looks like his eyes are OK. But he’s at the hospital now getting a CT scan. That’s all we know.”
Wedge said that Smoak was lucid. He added that Smoak did everything he could do defensively on the play, but was helpless against the hop.
“It came up on him hard, hit him square, and you saw the rest of it. I just hope he’s OK.
He hung in there good, stayed in front of it. It just took a bad hop and came up on him. He did everyrthing he could do and then some.”
Smoak before the game had been talking about how excited he was to get back in the lineup after missing seven games with a thumb injury. Then, in his first at-bat, he hit a drive to center that looked like it was good for extra bases, only to have Jacoby Ellsbury haul it in. The term “snake bit” jumps to mind.
“That’s what I said,” Wedge said. “The guy’s been battling to get back in the lineup, he goes up for his first AB,.really hit the ball well, drove it to center field. He’s been chomping at the bit to get back, and then this happens. Hopefully, it’s something that’s not too serious.”
I asked around, and it doesn’t appear Smoak would be eligible for the new 7-day disabled list that has been instituted this year for concussions. I can’t say that definitively, however. If Smoak does have to go on the DL, the Mariners have numerous options, including Wily Mo Pena (who would have to be added to the 40-man roster), as well as outfielders Greg Halman , Mike Wilson and Carlos Peguero,all of whom have already had big-league stints this year. Then there’s Alex Liddi, who hit his 26th homer tonight.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Right now, let’s just hope Smoak isn’t seriously injured, and wait to see what the medical tests show.

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