BALTIMORE -- Busted lip and all, Randal Grichuk wanted to play on Friday. But Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo and his training staff opted for caution and held the outfielder on the sidelines for the second game of a four-game series in Baltimore.
All things considered, it’s an incredibly fortunate scenario for the 27-year-old, who fouled a ball off his mouth in Thursday’s 11-2 win over the Orioles before being taken to a hospital for further testing. Outside of his cut lip and impacted teeth that needed re-adjusting, Grichuk avoided any skeletal damage and a concussion, never blacking out. He didn’t even require stitches.
“On his way out, he was telling me, ‘I’ll be ready to play tomorrow,’” Montoyo recalled Friday. “He really did. He’s a tough kid.”
“Anything -- broken jaw, broken orbital bone, broken nose -- plenty of different things that could have happened,” Grichuk said in good spirits Friday. “Might lose one tooth, but [considering what it could have been] that’s best-case scenario.”
It was a 93-mph tailing sinker from Orioles reliever Dillon Tate that ultimately did Grichuk in. The ball sailed so far in that Grichuk felt he needed to swing in order to protect himself. Ironically, that swing was what resulted in his injury.
After the foul ball, Grichuk at first felt he could stay in the game. But when he tried to bite down and felt his teeth out of place, he knew he needed medical attention. Grichuk was immediately hurried down the visitor’s tunnel under his own power with a towel to his bloodied face before being taken to a local hospital, where he was administered dental work but otherwise checked out OK.
“He got up like nothing and he was walking out like nothing happened,” Montoyo said after the game Thursday. “He got hit pretty good.”
It’s the second year in a row that Grichuk has had to leave a game due to a bizarre face injury. In a game against the Indians last Sept., Grichuk collided with a security guard’s stool while chasing a ball in foul territory.
“We’ll see what happens next year,” Grichuk joked. “Hopefully this isn’t a year-to-year thing now.”
The Blue Jays recalled right-handed pitcher Nick Kingham from Triple-A Buffalo before Friday’s game against the Orioles. Kingham served as the bulk pitcher following opener Wilmer Font on Friday night, hurling three scoreless innings and earning the victory in Toronto's 5-2 win. Outfielder Billy McKinney, who homered in Thursday's win, was optioned to Buffalo as the corresponding move.
• Outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was back in the starting lineup Friday -- going 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored -- after exiting Wednesday’s game with right knee discomfort and sitting out Thursday.
• Trade Deadline acquisition Derek Fisher earned his first Blue Jays start Friday, collecting his first hit and RBI with the club. The 37th-overall pick in the 2014 Draft has the versatility to play all three outfield positions, and his first look in a Blue Jays jersey came in centre. He finished Grichuk’s at-bat Thursday and struck out, but since he started with an 0-2 count, the punchout was attributed to Grichuk.