Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman was forced off the pitch in Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals. The 26-year old endured a scary moment during the first inning.
After taking the first two pitches of his at-bat against Royals starter Jakob Junis, Chapman was nailed with a 90.7 mph pitch that caught the side of his helmet. A’s trainer Nick Paparesta and manager Bob Melvin immediately came out to check on the All-Star, who appeared to be signalling to his left ear as the area most impacted by the hit-by-pitch, but Chapman was allowed to remain in the game.
Chapman later came around to score on a force out by Seth Brown in the first and even put together a six-pitch at-bat in the second, but he was replaced by Chad Pinder to begin the bottom half of the second with the A’s ahead by two runs at the time.
Due to league rules on head injuries, Chapman was not available to speak to reporters after Wednesday’s game, but Melvin provided a promising update.
“He’s all right. No concussion symptoms right now. It’s a contusion of the head,” Melvin said. “He got hit pretty good. That was scary. He walked it off for a little while and got a little blurry. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Losing Matt Chapman for an extended period of time would be a huge blow for the A’s, who find themselves currently holding a one-game lead for the second American League Wild Card as they battle for a playoff spot. The 2018 Gold and Platinum Glove Award winner is in the middle of a career year at the plate, batting .259 with a team-leading 30 home runs and 79 RBIs.
“It’s never good for anybody, especially your own teammate and one of our leaders,” A’s starter Tanner Roark said. “I hope he’s back tomorrow. We’ll see what the doctors have to say, but hopefully, he’s OK and passes everything.”
The entire A’s bench went quiet with a look of concern on each player’s face as they watched Chapman get observed halfway between home plate and first base. Outfielder Mark Canha felt a sense of relief after checking in on him after the game.
“He says it wasn’t too bad. They tested him for a concussion and everything,” Canha said. “Sounds like it was nothing too serious, but you never know with that stuff. It’s rough. You never want to see that.”
Should Chapman have to miss time, Pinder is the likely option to slot in at third. Sheldon Neuse, the A’s No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is also expected to be called up on Thursday and has played most of his Minor League games at third.