Bassitt in 'good spirits' after scary injury

August 19th, 2021

CHICAGO -- The A’s aren’t yet sure if will pitch again in 2021 after getting hit in the face by a line drive on Tuesday against the White Sox, but general manager David Forst wanted to reiterate on Wednesday that Bassitt’s return isn’t the biggest concern for the team.

“There are obviously a lot of questions about whether Chris pitches again this season or when he pitches," Forst said. "I don't have to say that those things are all secondary.”

Oakland released a statement Wednesday morning saying that Bassitt was released from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where he received stitches for two facial lacerations. Bassitt was diagnosed with “a displaced tripod fracture in his right cheek that will require surgery. An exam of his right eye was normal for vision, and no other damage is currently noted in the eye or the orbital bone. In addition, a head CT scan revealed no further injury.”

Later on Wednesday, Bassitt was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right facial fracture, and the A’s selected Paul Blackburn from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Oakland head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta said the swelling around Bassitt’s eye had gone down “dramatically” since Tuesday night -- though it was still swollen shut -- and Bassitt was resting comfortably and hadn’t shown any signs of a concussion.

Bassitt received 15-16 stitches, but according to Paparesta, that’s because the sutures were smaller to leave less scarring on his face. A consultation is scheduled for Monday with Dr. Peter Revenaugh, the head facial, plastic and reconstruction surgeon at Rush, and the hope is to have Bassitt undergo surgery on Tuesday to secure the bones that were displaced. For now, the A’s are just glad to see him in a good place mentally.

“All in all, he’s actually in really good spirits,” Paparesta said.

Also in good spirits are the rest of Bassitt’s teammates and coaches. Manager Bob Melvin said the team received a bit of news postgame and talked briefly, but without knowing the extent of the injury, the clubhouse was silent. Wednesday’s update, then, allowed Oakland to focus a little more on that night’s matchup with Chicago.

“We got what we considered was good news today, so everybody's in much better spirits in the clubhouse today,” Melvin said. “You have to go through certain events in your career, this being on the extreme end, but it's just going out there and trying to win today's game.”

“Our guys did a good job just getting through the game last night,” Forst added. “I give Bob and the coaches a lot of credit for getting everybody through that, and we'll move forward as a team today.”

Regarding Bassitt’s return, Paparesta said that any fracture of a bone could come with a six-week recovery period, but the timeline will also be influenced by how the surgery goes and how Bassitt feels in the week following.

Bassitt, his wife, Jessica, and his parents will stay in Chicago for as long as he needs to before heading back to Oakland. When that happens, Forst said the team will determine a plan to move forward.

“We will update his timeline as we have enough information to do so,” Forst said.

Oakland entered Wednesday 2 1/2 games behind Houston in the American League West and in a three-way tie with New York and Boston for the two AL Wild Card spots. Without Bassitt, who was named to his first All-Star team in July, the playoff race becomes even tougher.

But if the A’s are in a playoff position at the end of the year, well, they still won’t rule out that Bassitt might be right there with them.

“He is a tough, tough guy. Probably one of the most competitive guys -- both pitcher and position player -- I've ever had,” Melvin said. “... If anybody is able to deal with this a little bit quicker or in a certain fashion, it would be Chris."

“Knowing Chris as long as I have, he's a bull in a China closet,” Paparesta said. “I think he's just gonna attack this thing as the next big challenge ahead of him. I don't know that we've got a way to stop him, to be honest with you.”