Royals shortstop, and the number one prospect entering 2022, Bobby Witt Jr. took a 97 MPH fastball to the hands in the 9th inning of last night’s game in Houston, and will be day-to-day moving forward.
Heading into the ninth, Kansas City trailed the Astros 6-9. Leadoff man Whit Merrifield hit a triple off Astros reliever Rafael Montero down the right field line. He scored on the next play when Andrew Benintendi grounded out to first. Witt stepped into the box next, and worked a 2-2 count before Montero’s 97 MPH sinker ran inside. Witt said after the game that he was sitting something inside, and was ready to swing but recognized the pitch’s movement and attempted to get out of the way. In the process, Witt swung the bat and the ball caught him square in the right knuckles.
It was ruled a foul ball, and Witt took a second to gather himself. He walked to the Royals’ dugout and was met by manager Mike Matheny who decided to pull Witt from the game and have Ryan O’Hearn finish the at-bat.
“[Witt] wanted to [stay in],” Matheny said after the game. “Without knowing what we’re dealing with, it’s just not a good move. And after seeing how it did square him up, how swollen it was, you don’t want to take an extra swing […] Squared him up pretty good. There was a lot of swelling right away. Not a great spot.”
Witt underwent X-rays after the game that came back negative, about which he said: “Just glad for [the good results]. We’ll move on from there.” Moving on will likely mean additional tests and a few days rest. The knuckles are very resilient, but are still susceptible to bruising. Bruised knuckles can take anywhere from days to a few weeks to heal completely. The biggest thing for Witt will be his ability to hold the bat and throw the ball.
Witt is also familiar with getting hit on the hand. “It’s the third time I’ve been hit on this hand,” he said. “I’ve luckily been able to come back from those, I trust our trainers and staff with what they do.” This time should be no different.