Bassitt out of hospital after liner strikes face

August 18th, 2021

CHICAGO -- In the second inning of Tuesday’s 9-0 loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, A’s starter was hit in the face with a line drive and had to be carted off of the field.

Bassitt gave up singles to Eloy Jiménez and Yoán Moncada to start the inning, and White Sox outfielder Brian Goodwin lined Bassitt’s 1-1 pitch back to the mound with an exit velocity of 100.1 mph, per Statcast.

Trainers from both teams rushed to the hill, where Bassitt remained down with his face covered for several minutes. He had to be helped onto a cart and taken off of the field, where he sat with trainers and a towel covering his face.

The A's released a statement on Wednesday saying Bassitt was released from Rush University Medical Center, where he received stitches for two facial lacerations.

The club said 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."

Bassitt was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right facial fracture and the A's selected right-hander Paul Blackburn from Triple-A Las Vegas before Wednesday's game against the White Sox.

After the incident, players and staff looked on in silence, as the injury and its aftermath were very difficult to watch.

“Bass is conscious, he was the entire time,” manager Bob Melvin said after the game. “We don’t think the eye is a problem at this point. It felt like it was below it. He's got some cuts and used some stitches.”

After the game, White Sox manager Tony La Russa and players including Jake Lamb, Bassitt's former teammate in Oakland in 2020, sent their well wishes to the right-hander in his recovery.

Burch Smith took over for Bassitt on the mound following the injury. The Sox scored five runs in the second inning, added three more in the fourth when Smith gave up a home run to José Abreu, and their ninth run came in the sixth inning when Jake Diekman walked Zack Collins and gave up a triple to Tim Anderson.

Headed into Tuesday’s game, Bassitt was 12-3 with a 3.06 ERA, and he was sixth in the American League in strikeouts. He leads the A’s with 151 innings pitched. Bassitt’s WHIP (1.033) so far this season is the lowest of his career, and he is posting the highest strikeout rate (25.3%) and lowest walk rate (5.8%) of his career.

Last season, Bassitt pitched the second game of the AL Wild Card series against the White Sox, delivering a gusty performance in a must-win spot after the A's loss in Game 1 of the series. Melvin said prior to Tuesday's start that he knew Bassitt was the right call for that particular game last postseason.

“There’s certain games, certain events during the course of your career that are bigger than other ones, and that was huge for him,” Melvin said. “That’s a game we had to win. He went out there and performed in that fashion, which I think lends to him that he can perform in any game at any point in time.

“It was a huge springboard game for him, and I know a lot of his confidence, where it comes from leading into this season probably came from that game as well.”

With the loss, the A's remained 2 1/2 games behind the Astros in the AL West and fell to a three-way tie with the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race.