BOSTON (CBS) — In the seconds after getting plunked on the right hand in the ninth inning Tuesday night, Xander Bogaerts couldn’t help but experience a little déjà vu.
It was nearly identical to what happened to the Red Sox shortstop last July against the Tampa Bay Rays, when a Jacob Faria fastball found his right hand. Bogaerts only missed two days after that impact, but his production at the plate dipped mightily.
So after a 99 MPH fastball by Philadelphia’s Seranthony Dominguez connected with his right hand again Tuesday night, you can understand Bogaerts’ dejected nature in the Boston clubhouse.
“As soon as I got hit, I was like, ‘I can’t believe it,'” Bogaerts said after Boston’s 3-1 loss, noting that Dominguez’ pitch was even faster than the one that hit him last year. “But it happens; it’s part of the game. If I wouldn’t have fouled off those first two pitches I wouldn’t have gotten hit, but it’s part of the game. We’ll see how I feel over the next few days.”
Bogaerts was tended to for several minutes by Boston’s training staff as he crouched down at home plate, and he remained in the game to run the bases. X-rays were negative after the loss and Bogaerts was diagnosed with a right hand contusion, but that prognosis didn’t bring him much comfort.
He received the same diagnosis last season, and knows full well what it could mean.
“No, it doesn’t. Last year it was kind of the same thing, and I don’t want that feeling again,” he said.
Bogaerts is one of the more dangerous hitters in the Boston lineup this season, slashing 275/.342/.513 with 16 homers and 65 RBIs. He was hitting .308 with a .455 slugging percentage before he was plunked last season, and then hit just .232 and slugged .340 the rest of the way. So what happened Tuesday night is clearly cause for concern.
“It is what it is. I can’t go back in time and un-hit myself. He already did it. We lost the game. At least I got on base and we had a chance to try to do something there. It would have been good if we tied the game or even won the game. That hit by pitch didn’t do anything,” he said.
Luckily for Bogaerts and the Red Sox, they have an off-day Wednesday before opening an important four-game series with the Yankees Thursday. He’ll diligently ice his hand and follow whatever instructions the training staff gives him in hopes of missing as little time as possible. But given the dip in production that Bogaerts suffered after getting hit last season, don’t be surprised if the Red Sox take an overly cautious approach this time around.