Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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Mets’ Kevin Pillar Says He’s ‘Fine’ After Taking Fastball to Face

A Jacob Webb fastball produced a scary moment in the Mets’ win over the Braves, and sent their outfielder to the hospital.

Kevin Pillar of the Mets was taken to the hospital on Monday night after he was hit in the face by a fastball during a game against the Atlanta Braves. Hours later, Pillar posted on Twitter that he was “doing fine” after what even he acknowledged was a scary incident.

Despite Pillar’s positive words, the Mets announced on Tuesday that the outfielder had sustained multiple nasal fractures. He will consult a facial specialist in Atlanta to determine a course of treatment. There was no word on how long he might be sidelined.

The incident, reminiscent of one earlier this season in which Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies also took a pitch to the face, happened in the seventh inning of Monday’s game in the Atlanta suburbs. Pillar was facing Jacob Webb with the bases loaded and was unable to react or move out of the way of a four-seam fastball clocked at 94.5 miles per hour.

(Warning: This video shows the pitch hitting Pillar and may be disturbing.)

Pillar went down immediately and rose from the ground with blood streaming from his nose.

Webb, visibly upset by the incident, put his hands on his head and then squatted on the mound as Pillar lay face down in the dirt next to home plate.

“Nobody in the ballpark thought he was trying to do that on purpose,” Braves catcher Jeff Mathis said. “He felt terrible.”

John Bazemore/Associated Press
John Bazemore/Associated Press

After being tended to by trainers, Pillar left the field on his own, his face covered by towels. A pinch-runner replaced him, and the Braves also removed Webb from the game. In the Atlanta dugout, Webb was consoled by at least two Braves coaches.

The game was paused briefly as members of the Atlanta grounds crew covered the blood that was visible near home plate.

The Mets said after the game that Pillar had been taken to the hospital for a CT scan. After the game, Pillar tweeted a post in which he said he was “doing fine.”

“Thanks to everyone that has reached out!” he wrote. “Scary moment but I’m doing fine!”

Since the bases were loaded at the time of the beaning, Pillar was credited with a painful run batted in. The Mets won the game, 3-1.

“That’s about as sickening a thing as you can see on the baseball field when a kid gets hit like that,” Braves Manager Brian Snitker said.

Hit by pitches have been at all time highs in the last few seasons, which combined with increased velocity from pitchers has created dangerous situations for batters. Pillar has been hit in the head twice before, MLB.com reported, in 2016 against the Red Sox, when he was hit on the helmet, and in 2019, against the Padres, when he was hit in the jaw by a 97 mile-per-hour pitch.

Pillar walked off the field on his own, and later tweeted that he was “doing fine.”
John Bazemore/Associated Press

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