Harper 'all good' after 97 mph pitch to face

Slugger: 'Face is still there' after beaning during Phillies' comeback victory

April 29th, 2021

Phillies slugger was forced to exit Wednesday night's 5-3 win over the Cardinals after being hit in the face by a pitch from Cardinals reliever Génesis Cabrera in the top of the sixth inning at Busch Stadium.

A 96.9-mph sinker by Cabrera beaned Harper directly in the face on the first pitch of the inning.

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After leaving the game under his own power, Harper was immediately taken to a hospital to undergo testing, including a CT scan. On his Instagram feed, Harper said that “everything feels good.”

“Everything came back good, the CT, all of that kind of stuff," Harper said. "The face is still there, so we are all good. See you all soon.”

The sixth inning remained an eventful one, as Didi Gregorius was hit by Cabrera’s next pitch -- a 94.5-mph fastball to the ribs. It was the first time since July 2012 that two Phillies batters were hit on back-to-back pitches.

“I want to again apologize for all the actions that happened,” Cabrera said during the postgame Zoom press conference. “Especially to Harper, I really wish him the best and I hope he has a speedy recovery with whatever it is that happened and then be able to come back to baseball activities. The game kind of got away from me at that point. And I'm really sorry for everything that happened today. None of it was intentional. And again, I'm sorry.”

Tensions were running high as Phillies manager Joe Girardi was ejected after Gregorius got hit. Both benches were given a warning, but Girardi argued with home plate umpire Chris Segal that Cabrera shouldn’t face another batter.

“I understand why they give the warnings, right,” Girardi said. “They don't want things to escalate. They don't want people to get hit. But if a guy hits a guy in the face and a guy in the ribs with two pitches, he's got to go, right? If you're really protecting the players, obviously he doesn't have command. He's got to go. ... I mean, now I got a shortstop that probably might have to have imaging on his ribs. And you're going to let him stay in the game. He's got to go. Just for the safety of the players.”

Gregorius remained in the game and walked to first base, pushing pinch-runner Matt Joyce to second. Andrew McCutchen, who re-entered the lineup after a two-day reset, hit a go-ahead RBI single, putting the Phillies up, 4-3. After tossing just five pitches, Cabrera was taken out of the game.

Due to MLB rules, Cabrera needed to face McCutchen to meet the three-batter minimum. Cardinals skipper Mike Shildt said postgame that he would have removed Cabrera after his pitch to Harper had it not been for the rule.

Shildt wanted to make two things clear: First, that he hoped Harper was OK; and second, that Cabrera did not do this intentionally.

“Clearly if we thought there was any possibility that [the wildness] would be in play, a) we wouldn't be here and b) we wouldn't pitch him,” Shildt said. “You're talking about an aggressive young pitcher that's throwing to one of the superstars in this game and is wanting to give him his best ball, and the ball got away from him, and unfortunately it got Bryce up top.”

Girardi detailed a similar moment to the Harper at-bat from his own playing career -- breaking his nose in 2000. He said first-hand he knows how scary those moments can be, but also how that can bring a clubhouse together.

“I think it's a lot of fight in that group,” Girardi said of his team. “It's who they are. I mean, that's a brotherhood in there. Because what you see is the love and the fight that comes out when one of our guys or two of our guys had to deal with what they had to do. It stinks that they got hit. But how our guys reacted I think is a great thing.”