'Nasty collision' shakes up Baddoo, Hill in win

Outfielders injured while running down an eighth-inning ball in the gap

August 11th, 2021

BALTIMORE -- In the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s matchup with the Orioles, Tigers left fielder and center fielder collided while working to catch Anthony Santander’s drive to left-center field.

For a few moments, Camden Yards was silent as the two outfielders remained on the ground. While Hill somehow managed to hold onto the ball, manager A.J. Hinch knew that the impact between the two was a big one. He, along with members of Detroit's training staff, came out to meet them, before helping to escort them both off the field under their own power.

“It was a nasty collision,” said Hinch. “A ball hit probably in the perfect spot for both guys to be going full speed [and] both have the chance to catch it. You don't see it a lot at this level, [but] when you see [collisions], they're nasty, [especially with] two big, physical athletes.”

It was a scary moment in the Tigers' 9-4 win, with both players running towards each other at more than a Statcast-projected 28 feet per second -- nearly what is considered an elite sprint speed of 30 feet per second.

Hinch spoke to Baddoo in the clubhouse after the game, noting that he is alert and doing OK, but pretty beat up. The skipper expects the outfielder to miss a few days and possibly take a trip to the IL, as he is being tested for a concussion. 

After speaking with the training staff and watching a video of the collision, Hinch believes that Hill’s elbow hit Baddoo in the head, while Baddoo slid into Hill’s rib cage. Though Hinch has yet to speak to Hill, he noted that Hill was in a lot of pain and was getting his ribs checked out. 

“That was a scary moment,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “From my view, you were hoping there weren’t heads colliding. It was really hard to see guys laying on the ground. That was scary for everybody.”

Hinch moved Niko Goodrum, who started at shortstop in his first game back from the IL, to center field and shifted catcher Eric Haase to left field. Grayson Greiner came in to catch, while Harold Castro took over at shortstop.

The skipper hasn’t thought about what he will do if either or both of the outfielders are headed to the IL. At this moment, their safety is his main concern.

“We have a lot of versatile guys, which is key,” said Hinch. “Obviously, all of us were thinking of Akil and Derek and hoping that they were going to be OK as they staggered off the field. Fortunately for us, we're prepared, because we have a lot of versatility on this team, but it's never anything that I feel good about.”

Prior to the collision, Baddoo smacked his sixth triple of the season, aiding the Tigers' early offensive outburst. Detroit needed the insurance runs after starting pitcher Casey Mize allowed three solo home runs for the second straight outing.

“[I think] part of it was the delay, part of it was just a couple of lapses of concentration,” said Hinch on the one-hour, 54-minute delay at the start of Tuesday’s contest. “It just didn't look like he was at his best. It just looked like Casey was a little out of sync and not really in rhythm and had a couple of mental lapses. ... He had the error, which is very rare for him. He's an excellent fielding pitcher. I think that was symbolic of just an off night for him.”

Though the rookie pitcher’s night was over a few innings before the collision, it seemed like things in general were just off, though Detroit did come out ahead.

“That was as much of a grind of a 9-4 win [as] you're gonna find,” said Hinch.