Had Dan Straily been wearing a Kevlar vest beneath his jersey, perhaps the hard blow to his chest might not have caused he and the Marlins so so much harm. But Eric Hosmer’s 109.9 mph liner struck the defenseless pitcher like a missile.
After being knocked to his knees, a shaken Straily somehow recovered and continued to pitch. But the Padres continued their assault on Straily with three runs in the first in an eventual 5-4 win at Marlins Park.
While the Marlins were able to recover from the early deficit and tie the score in the sixth, Travis Jankowski's two-out, bases-loaded single in the eighth off Drew Rucinski thwarted the comeback.
Straily somehow survived a rough first inning.
The second batter he faced, Hosmer, lined a shot that hit Straily directly in his chest. The pitcher fell to his knees and gasped for air. But the Marlins left him in and the Padres ended up scoring three runs in the opening frame.
"It definitely took the wind out of me," Straily said. "I felt myself kind of spinning around. I think at first I was looking for the baseball at my feet. Then I kind of started to lose my breath and I just went to the ground."
Manager Don Mattingly and the Marlins' training staff went out to check on Straily, who remained on his knees until he was able to regain his breath.
"He said 'Give me a second,'" said Mattingly, who was prepared to bring in Elieser Hernandez from the bullpen if Straily was unable to continue. "He was able to hang in there."
Said Straily: "When you get hit, it's like you don't remember it. You kind of have a quick, momentary blackout. Once we kind of knew I would be able to continue, it was just a matter of regathering myself and kind of regathering my focus."
The ball hit Straily in the ribs, just below his right breast, and left a large round welt. Straily said he didn't feel discomfort the rest of the time he was on the mound, but began to notice it after entering the clubhouse.
He said X-rays came back negative.
Straily came out in the fourth after throwing 87 pitches, leaving behind a 4-1 deficit.
But the Marlins rallied in the sixth when Derek Dietrich homered to start the inning and they added two more runs after Justin Bour, the slowest runner on the team, barely legged out a double on a close play at second.
Bour ended up scoring on a wild pitch and the Marlins tied it on Miguel Rojas’ infield hit, which Padres second baseman Jose Pirela was unable to field cleanly.
The rally went for naught, though. After retiring the first two batters he faced, Rucinski gave up a double to Manuel Margot and issued a pair of walks (one intentionally) before Jankowski drove in the deciding run with a single. Mattingly said Tayron Guerrero, whom he likely would have used in that spot, was unavailable due to recent usage.
Veteran broadcaster Tommy Hutton is returning to the Marlins.
Fox Sports Florida on Saturday announced that Hutton, the popular color analyst for 19 seasons before being dismissed in 2015, will return to the booth for “select broadcasts as a pre-and-postgame analyst” for the remainder of the season.
“I’m excited,” Hutton said. “I’ve been sitting around enjoying my retirement with my grandchildren, playing golf and a little travel.”
Hutton said the Marlins first reached out to him to serve as an emcee for Saturday’s 25th anniversary celebration in which he introduced former players. A source said the Marlins also worked behind the scenes with Fox Sports Florida to bring him back into the broadcasting fold.
“They (Fox Sports) said they’d been working with the Marlins trying to put something together to get me back involved,” Hutton said.
Hutton said he will provide analysis from both the ballpark and studio, with most of his work coming after the All-Star break in July.
There is some feeling within the organization that of the 41 players chosen by the Marlins in this week’s amateur draft, the one who could be the first to reach the majors is right-handed pitcher Chris Vallimont, their fifth-round pick.
Vallimont whiffed 147 batters in 80 1/3 innings for Mercyhurst (Pa.) College for an average strikeout rate of 16.7 per nine innings.
The 21-year-old hurler went 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA, allowed only 40 hits, and throws a mid- to high-90s fastball.