Braves rookie Dansby Swanson wasn’t wearing a protective cup when got hit in the groin area by an errant throw during Monday’s game. He won’t make that mistake again.
“I’ll be properly equipped from now on,” Swanson said sheepishly Tuesday before batting practice, when the shortstop spoke to reporters about the Monday night incident for the first time. He was back in the lineup Tuesday after being examined by a team doctor and cleared to play.
Swanson was standing with other Braves infielders chatting about 10-15 feet behind the pitcher’s mound in the fourth inning Monday as reliever Ryan Weber warmed up during a pitching change. Catcher Tyler Flowers threw a ball back to Weber that sailed over the pitchers’ head and hit Swanson directly in the spot where a player never wants to get hit.
Especially a player not wearing a protective cup.
Swanson, 23, immediately bent over in pain. He managed to stay in the game for the rest of the top half of the fourth inning, but became sick after coming off the field and was replaced at shortstop by Gordon Beckham. The team officially called it a right groin contusion, but what Swanson suffered is commonly known as getting hit in the (testicles).
“I kind of was in pain the rest of the night,” said Swanson, an Atlanta-area native and former Marietta High School star.
He was not made available to talk to reporters after Monday night’s game, and Tuesday he was polite and managed to joke about the incident, but kept the interview short before going on the field for batting practice. Flowers walked past while Swanson was being interviewed and cracked, “Who would ever expect that to happen in the big leagues?”
Although most players wear hard cups to protect themselves in case struck by a bat, ball, sliding opponent or anything else, some choose not to because of the comfort factor. Swanson will no longer be among the latter group.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said it was also a reminder never to stay behind anyone who’s playing catch, especially if the bystander is not watching every throw. Swanson said he wasn’t standing directly behind the mound – replay showed he was correct – but was a bit to the first-base side of the mound. But that’s exactly where Flowers’ throw sailed.
“Just bad luck, I guess,” Swanson said. “I get hit in the face….”
Shortly after signined with the Diamondbacks as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Vanderbilt, Swanson was hit in the face by a fellow Arizona prospect during his first at-bat in a simulate game, his first game of any kind after college. He had to have 14 stitches and suffered a concusion in that incident, which is why he wears a protective attachment extending from an ear flap of his batting helmet to cover the left side of his face.