Moore avoids scare on comebacker to mouth
Left-hander receives stitches for cut lip; doesn't expect to miss next start
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Rays left-hander Matt Moore left Sunday's game against the Red Sox after being struck in the mouth by a comebacker off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.
Moore received four or five stitches on the inside of his lower lip but appears to have otherwise avoided serious injury. He received the stitches from Red Sox team doctors on-site at JetBlue Park and had no signs of concussion-like symptoms, nor did he require a trip to the hospital.
"I definitely feel fortunate to just have it hit my mouth and not somewhere potentially more dangerous," Moore said. "I remember as soon as it hit me, just looking for the ball, which I feel very fortunate that I didn't just fall and straight cover my face. It just hit me kind of right on the mouth."
Moore not only looked for the ball but actually tracked it down and threw to first in time to retire Bogaerts and end the fourth inning. He then walked off the field under his own power, though a team trainer met him halfway and covered his bleeding lip with a towel.
"Once he went for the ball, I thought he might be OK," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He came in bleeding a little bit at the lip. He wasn't 100 percent sure exactly what happened, so of course he wasn't going to continue."
The part Moore was unsure of -- and remained unsure of even after the game had concluded -- was whether or not the ball deflected off his glove hand, pitching hand or anything at all before contact
"I'm not for certain, at all, as far as what it hit," Moore said. "I can't believe that it really just came off his bat and hit me in the face and this is what happened. I would think it'd be a little more and I might be missing some teeth."
It also happened too fast for Bogaerts to properly decipher from his view at home plate.
"I thought it hit his glove. He got up and he threw me out," Bogaerts said. "I definitely didn't think it got him in his face. It wasn't my intention, obviously. I wish him nothing but the best. Hopefully he'll have a good recovery."
As it turned out, the ball apparently skimmed off Moore's pitching hand before striking his lip, according to Maddon, who had team personnel review the replays and report back to him following the incident.
As always, the play made for a frightening situation, especially given the chilling scene less than a week ago in Arizona involving Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman. In a Cactus League game on Wednesday, Chapman was struck above the left eye and immediately went to the ground before eventually being removed on a stretcher. He had surgery the following day to repair a fracture above his left eye and a metal plate was placed on the bone above his eye.
Moore was fortunate on Sunday to avoid serious injury, though he will undergo X-rays on Monday to confirm that he does not have any minor fractures in his jaw or the roots of his teeth. Neither Moore nor the doctors he talked to at the stadium Sunday believed there was anything to be concerned about.
Regardless, Maddon said it was still a scary experience watching the play unfold from the dugout.
"Always," Maddon said. "I'm sure there are going to be more thoughts about [protective] hats, but that hat would not have protected that either. It's a necessary evil within the game. It happens, it's awful, but you've got to keep playing and move on."
Moore is already prepared to move on, saying that he does not expect to miss any starts as a result of the injury. Assuming Monday's X-rays come back clean, there doesn't seem to be anything that would force Moore to miss any time.
"I really can't see a reason why it would keep me out," Moore said. "They're telling me it's just a fat lip and it should heal up pretty quickly."
Thank you for all the thoughts and concerns.. After a few stitches and a fat lip I definitely feel fortunate today..- Matt Moore (@MattyMoe55) March 23, 2014
As for his mindset about getting back on the mound, Moore admitted that it might be difficult to not think about something like this happening again, though he doesn't expect it to affect his pitching.
"You try to go out there fearless and not really think it's going to happen," Moore said. "But the more you see it, the more and more you think about it, obviously. It's like every time you get on the freeway, you don't really think about getting in a car accident, but if you get in a car accident, it'll shake you up pretty good."