Earlier today, we wrote about Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak and how happy he was returning to the lineup after missing seven games because of a bruised left thumb.
That injury happened Aug. 2 when a ground ball took a bad hop.
On the first grounder he saw since that injury, in the second inning tonight, the hop wasn’t just bad, it was wicked. And so was the scene on the dirt near first base.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia pulled a hard shot directly at Smoak, who got in position to field the ball before it took a late high hop. Smoak had a fraction of a second to react, but he dropped his head enough that the ball struck the bill of his cap.
The bill of his cap couldn’t prevent a broken nose, which Smoak suffered. He was undergoing a CT scan tonight to determine if there is any further damage. It’s way too soon to know how much time Smoak will miss.
When the ball hit Smoak, we could hear the “smack!” up here in the press box. He immediately dropped to the dirt and held his face. As Saltalamacchia crossed first base and saw the scene, he also put his head in his hands.