Kim crumples in pain but avoids the worst

Padres infielder exits after fouling ball off left knee; X-rays are negative

May 26th, 2023

WASHINGTON – Already without , the Padres’ infield took another hit on Thursday afternoon.

exited the team’s 8-6 victory over the Nationals in the top of the second inning after fouling a ball off the inside of his left knee. Kim crumpled to the ground at Nationals Park in obvious pain and had to be helped off the field by two team trainers.

Early indications are that Kim may have avoided significant injury. X-rays on his knee came back negative, manager Bob Melvin said. Though it’s doubtful Kim would be available for the series opener Friday against the Yankees in New York, he could avoid a stint on the injured list.

“Fortunately, everything came back clean, and I heard it’s just a contusion,” Kim said, through Korean interpreter Leo Bae. “But it hurt. It hurt bad. I’ll have to see how I feel the next day.”

How does he feel now?

“Right now,” Kim said with a grimace followed by a smile, “it’s kind of hard to walk around.”

It has been a rough couple weeks for the San Diego infield. Ten days ago, Machado sustained a fractured metacarpal in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch. He remains on the injured list, though he has started to ramp up baseball activity.

Kim, the team’s primary second baseman, had shifted to third in Machado’s absence. An excellent defender anywhere in the infield, Kim had filled that role admirably, while and platooned on the right side.

Dixon entered to pinch-hit for Kim mid at-bat on Thursday. He singled before ’s two-run homer put the Padres up, 2-1, in the second.

Dixon proceeded to take over at first base, with sliding to second and Odor moving to third. For as long as Kim and Machado are unavailable, that’s the infield alignment the Padres expect to use. 

But if Kim does not require an IL stint, the team doesn’t expect to make a roster move to add another infielder, Melvin said. However ugly it looked at the time, the Padres appear to have avoided calamity in their infield.

“When I first got hit, I was thinking the worst-case thing happened,” Kim said. “But fortunately, I got a good result -- a better result than I expected.”