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Sox react after Chris Bassitt hit in head with line drive

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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That was as scary a sight as you're likely to see on a baseball field.

Chicago White Sox outfielder Brian Goodwin lined a pitch right off Chris Bassitt's head in the second inning of Tuesday night's game at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Oakland Athletics' All-Star pitcher dropping to the ground and holding his head in his hands for a long while, visibly bleeding. He was later carted off the field and taken to the hospital.

"I'm trying to think if there's anything scarier than that," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "There was like a dark cloud around that game the whole time."

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After the game, A's manager Bob Melvin provided a bit of an update, saying there was still more information to come.

"Bass is conscious. He was the entire time," Melvin told reporters. "We don't think the eye is a problem at this point. It felt like it was below it. He's got some cuts. They had to do some stitches. He's in a scan, and we'll know more about potential fractures tomorrow or later tonight."

For both teams, in what was then a scoreless game, there was still baseball to be played, of course. But you'd have to imagine it was extraordinarily difficult for the A's to muster much of anything while thinking about their teammate.

 

The feelings were mutual in the home dugout.

"That happens, it's very concerning. There isn't anybody out there that wasn't worried about him, and it didn't matter whether you had your uniform on or theirs," La Russa said. "The game goes on, you just have to play. But nobody's oblivious to the potential danger."

"When you see something like that, it's hard to digest because we as pitchers, we know that that can happen. It’s like, that could happen to me, and it's scary," White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo López said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "Every time you see something like that is tough to swallow. But at the same time, we know that that can happen. It's sad that it happened. It was really hard on me."

The White Sox did go on to beat the A's in a 9-0 rout, guaranteeing at least a series split against a fellow American League contender amid a stretch of series against the Junior Circuit's other top teams. José Abreu added three RBIs to his league-leading total on a three-run homer, and Jake Lamb also hit a three-run bomb in that second inning, right after Bassitt's departure. López was stellar across five shutout innings, allowing just one hit.

But all that took a backseat to the frightening scene from the second, with thoughts of Bassitt on everyone's minds.

"It's a lot more than baseball at that point," said Lamb, who played with Bassitt last season in Oakland. "It's a friend, it's an old teammate. Any time you (see someone) get hit in the head like that, it's a very scary situation.

"Walking up to the plate my first at-bat, that was a very tough at-bat because my mind is elsewhere, not really thinking about the game. It's a scary situation, man. Simple as that, it's a lot bigger than baseball at that point."

Bassitt, of course, was a one-time White Sox pitcher, dealt away in the trade that brought Jeff Samardzija to the South Side in 2014. Since, he's developed into the ace of the Oakland staff, making his first career All-Star Game earlier this summer, a season after dominating his former organization in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series.

Bassitt threw seven innings of one-run ball that day last October, and he's looked as good plenty of times since, coming into Tuesday's start with a 3.06 ERA, leading the AL with 150 innings pitched.

While the White Sox would have an easier road to the World Series should they dodge Bassitt in the postseason this time around, they're undoubtedly hoping he'll be well enough, recovered enough from Tuesday's scary moment, to be able to pitch again this October.

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