By Chad Jennings
Chances are, Chase Headley won’t play this afternoon. But he’ll show up at Camden Yards with his jaw intact, his teeth in place, and his head showing no signs of a concussion in the first 24 hours after he was hit in the face by a fastball on Thursday night.
“My first thought when I was on the ground, I was reaching up with my hand, making sure everything was in place and my teeth were still there,” Headley said. “You never really know the moment something like that happens. You knew that it hurt, but you don’t really know how bad it hurt. You’re kind of taking inventory, I guess. You just hope for the best at that point. It’s scary; not fun to go through and not fun to see anybody else go through. I’m really fortunate the way it came out.”
Two stitches beneath his lower lip provide the only obvious evidence of what happened. Headley said he’s still sore, but he speaks just fine and could be playing again in a few days. It’s worth noting that his hit by pitch came just minutes after Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the face and suffered far more serious injuries.
“Talking to the doctors, to be hit direct with that hard of a fastball, there’s really no reason that I should be as good as I am,” Headley said. “I’m fortunate, blessed. I’m sore, but it could have been much worse.”
Headley has watched the video. So has his wife. His son, he said, has not.
“Sometimes it puts things in perspective, to really appreciate what you have,” Headley said. “Make sure that you really enjoy everything that you’re doing with your family when you’re playing because it can go in an instant. That’s just a reminder of it. Your heart goes out to anybody that gets hit in the face. Obviously with Stanton, he got it much worse than I did. It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the game. Those things happen. I don’t think there was any intent by any means, but it’s scary when it does (happen).”