Athletics starter Chris Bassitt received a warm welcome Thursday upon his return from a scary injury that forced him to undergo facial surgery roughly five weeks ago.
Yep -- just five weeks ago, the 2021 All-Star was clutching his face on the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field as a white towel filled up with blood. Bassitt had lacerations on his face after being hit in his cheek with a 100 mph line drive off the bat of White Sox outfielder Brian Goodwin.
His return against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday was miraculous, to say the least, but it was Bassitt. In three innings -- his first since Aug. 17 -- gave up just one hit, didn't allow any runs and struck out four.
Still, even after Bassitt departed with a three-run lead, the game didn’t go the way the A’s wanted it to go as they lost 6-5 to the Mariners for the fourth straight day, which left fans wondering why would he return so late in the season with only several games left and the team falling further and further behind in the AL Wild Card race?
Bassitt made his reasons well known on Twitter after he spoke to the media.
Note: Images are graphic.
“Why did I come back? What’s the point? I’ll tell you why …” Bassitt tweeted. “We are the green and gold. Bob Melvin is our manager. Don’t make excuses and get your ass to work. If you won’t do it then we will find someone who will. This org turns you into a better person and I’m grateful.”
Bassitt’s gratuitous attitude pours over the team. His absence was more than figuring out how to adjust to a new rotation. His presence away from the team showed. When he was able to return to be with his teammates, the energy shifted -- returned, really. He has a lot of people who deserve a shoutout for him being able to walk on that mound Thursday.
“I got a ton of people to thank, obviously,” Bassitt said after the game. “All the doctors, the White Sox, our medical staff, everyone basically -- one mess up, and I was screwed -- and no one messed up.”
Bassitt went into depth on who had helped him. His wife, Jessica, and his daughter Landry were in attendance when he got struck in the face, along with his parents.
“If you look at someone and who they hang out with, or who they’re involved with -- their inner circle so to speak -- it kind of tells you who they are," Bassitt said. "I’m very blessed and thankful for the circle that I have kind of made in baseball.”
Bassitt said his circle is not just in Oakland, of course. He was drafted by the White Sox in 2011 and has remained close to the team ever since.
“The owner of the White Sox, the staffing of the White Sox, whenever I got hurt,” Bassitt said. “I had a former trainer, literally in the ambulance with me. I had physical therapists with me, I had the owner of the White Sox looking after me and I had obviously our own owners looking after me, David [Forst], all these guys, so yeah, it’s just, when things happen like that, you really find out who’s who kind of with you and I’m beyond blessed to have people that I have with me.”
Bassitt said there were two groups of people who checked in on him after his injury. One is a group who would wish him congratulations on a great year -- essentially saying he wouldn’t return. However, the second group, who knows Bassitt better, gave him other messages.
“The other group, that basically know who I was and who I am said, ‘How long is it going to be until you get back?’ Like [Marcus] Semien and all those guys -- Liam [Hendriks] and all the people that just know truly who I am.”
The skepticism of the A’s having to prepare for a season without him quickly faded away. Bassitt was back, and from what teammates said, he didn’t look rusty and didn’t skip a beat. He was the same guy.