Suzuki avoids serious injury when hit by bat

Tests reveal catcher did not sustain concussion; available to play Tuesday

June 17th, 2018

ATLANTA -- Braves catcher felt fortunate to avoid a significant injury when he was struck in the head with Raffy Lopez's backswing during the second inning of Sunday's 4-1 win over the Padres at SunTrust Park.
"I've never been hit with a backswing like that," Suzuki said. "So, the first time in 12 seasons, it was pretty brutal. But it's OK. I just got a lump."
Suzuki exited the game and underwent a series of evaluations, none of which indicated he sustained a concussion. The veteran catcher will be available to play defense or serve as a designated hitter when the Braves open a two-game set in Toronto on Tuesday.
"It was kind of a precautionary thing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He got hit good. The doctors wanted to look at him and I'm sure he wanted to come back out. But something like that is not something you want to mess with."
As Lopez swung at and missed 's 3-2 slider, his right hand remained on his bat, which struck the right side of Suzuki's head, displacing his catcher's mask. The Braves catcher dropped to his knees and remained on the ground for a couple of minutes before walking off the field under his own power.
Lopez, a fellow catcher, did not check on Suzuki before walking toward the dugout. As he came back on the field to begin the bottom of the second, he appeared to receive some choice words from Braves third-base coach Ron Washington. Snitker said Padres manager Andy Green later apologized.
"It's pretty cool when you have guys like Wash and some of the other guys pretty upset," Suzuki said.
Tyler Flowers replaced Suzuki behind the plate when the third inning began. Flowers drilled a two-run homer off Brad Hand in the eighth and tallied the game's first run when he crossed the plate on 's two-run double in the fourth.