Burriss survives close call
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants already have watched right-hander Joe Martinez get skulled by a line drive. They didn’t need to see another teammate endure a frightening injury from a batted ball.
And they didn’t, fortunately enough. But it almost happened in Friday night’s second inning. Emmanuel Burriss, minding his own business in the on-deck area, was hit in the back of his neck below his right ear by a ball when Tim Lincecum fouled off a pitch.
Burriss was in obvious pain, but recovered quickly enough to bat (and strike out) immediately after Lincecum was retired.
“I got lucky as hell,” Burriss said. “That ball was coming right at my face. If I wasn’t paying attention or [if I were] looking at something else, that ball would have hit me square in the nose.”
That could have had extremely serious consequences. On August 31, 2007, St. Louis’ Juan Encarnacion was struck in the face by a foul ball hit by teammate Aaron Miles while in the on-deck circle. The resulting eye injuries ended Encarnacion’s career.
According to a sourced Wikipedia entry, Cardinals team physician Dr. George Paletta called it the worst injury he’d ever seen to the face on a baseball player. As the entry related, “Paletta said the eye socket was essentially crushed on impact, comparing the injured area to the disintegration of an egg shell or ice cream cone, and that the optic nerve had sustained severe trauma.”
Yes, Burriss was indeed lucky.
— Chris Haft