JUPITER -- Marlins All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was struck in the head by a fastball that got away from top prospect Jose Fernandez during a simulated game Wednesday afternoon at the team’s spring training complex.
Luckily, it looks like the Marlins might have “dodged a bullet,” manager Mike Redmond said. Stanton said the ball struck him “in the bottom of the head, high neck area,” and although his vision was affected, Redmond said initial reports don’t show any concussionlike symptoms. The team sent Stanton for X-rays on his neck after practice as a precautionary measure, Redmond said.
“I wasn’t dizzy or nothing,” said Stanton, who had an ice pack wrapped around the back of his neck when he spoke to reporters in the clubhouse about 15 minutes after being hit.
“I saw a little grayness, fuzziness on the outside of my eyes but it’s subsiding now.”
Asked if he fears he might miss significant time, Stanton said: “No. Hopefully not. But I would say no.”
Stanton, who has missed big chunks of spring training in the past, staggered backward for a moment after being hit, but didn’t fall to the ground. He gathered himself and then scooped up his helmet on his way back to the dugout. Moments later, though, he was transported to the clubhouse on a golf cart by assistant athletic trainer Mike Kozak for further evaluation. Although appearing a bit woozy, Stanton still signed autographs for a few youths as he walked over to get into the cart.
Fernandez, the Marlins’ first-round pick of 2011 who is considered the franchise’s top prospect by Baseball America, was shaken after the incident. After retiring the first three batters he faced on groundouts in his portion of the simulated game, Stanton stepped into the batter’s box to face Fernandez. The first pitch he saw struck him, knocking his helmet off and sending it rolling to the backstop. Redmond said Fernandez stayed in and retired the next batter he faced before leaving the field.
“I know it was over 95 mph. I know it was,” Fernandez said of the pitch. “It’s a scary moment. When I let it go, I felt I didn’t have control over it coming out of my hand. It could have gone to the other side. It went to the wrong side. I feel very bad about it.
“Normally, I’ve got a lot of control and I throw a lot of strikes.”
Fernandez, who hit five batters last season in 134 combined innings at the Single A level, jogged into the clubhouse shortly after Stanton was carted off. Stanton acknowledged Fernandez apologized as soon as he walked into the clubhouse.
“When I asked him how he’s doing, he laughed,” Fernandez said. “He said he is fine. I told him, ‘I’m sorry. You know, nobody is trying to hit anybody. Same team and everything.’ He just laughed, said, ‘Bro, it’s baseball. It happens.’ ”
Stanton tried to make Fernandez feel better about it.
“It’s happened before and it will happen another time,” Stanton said. “He said ‘Sorry.’ [I told him] ‘Don’t dwell on it. We’re good. Obviously you didn’t mean to. No big deal.’ ”
The Marlins were participating in simulated games for the first time since camp opened more than a week ago. Redmond said every manager “worries about getting through the first couple days of live [batting practice] without hitting anybody.”
“Unfortunately, it’s a part of it,” he said. “I think we’re just hoping everything checks out good and we’re good to go.”
Redmond said he would have no problem putting Stanton right back out into the action if the X-rays check out well. “Probably the quicker we get him back in the box, the better,” Redmond said.
• First baseman Logan Morrison walked onto the field moments before Stanton was struck by Fernandez’s errant pitch. Morrison took a flight to Vail, Colo., to have his right knee examined Tuesday and was given the green light to start running on the treadmill. Redmond said the team will take it easy with Morrison “and ease him back in.”
• Reserve first baseman Casey Kotchman, who sliced his left ring finger Monday when he collided with a machine during pop-up drills, is progressing, according to Redmond. “He’s able to grip now,” Redmond said. “It’s probably going to be a couple more days. I think the plan is to get him swinging the bat again by the weekend.”
• Second baseman Donovan Solano homered off closer Steve Cishek on Wednesday during one of the simulated games. Reserve catcher Wilfredo Gimenez later hit a two-run homer off reliever Chris Hatcher.