MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s Kyle Farmer was hit in the face by a 92 mph fastball on Wednesday, a frightening mistake by Chicago White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito that sent the Twins shortstop for oral surgery to realign his four bottom teeth and suture together lacerations on his lower lip.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said the initial diagnosis revealed no fracture after the pitch from Giolito ran inside and knocked Farmer to the dirt in the fourth inning. Giolito immediately raised his arms toward his head and walked forward from the mound out of concern for Farmer, who laid face down for a few minutes as the Twins tended to him.
Farmer eventually climbed to his feet with assistance and walked slowly to the dugout with a towel pressed against his face, his head hunched down.
“You kind of didn’t hear a pin drop for three innings. It was kind of weird in the dugout,” Twins designated hitter Byron Buxton said, adding: “Everybody was thinking more about him than the game, especially when something horrific happens like that. If you’ve got any type of heart, you care about that person before you do this game. It was tough to finish.”
Giolito was shaken up by the sight, too.
“It’s something that obviously I feel very, very bad about,” he said. “Never want to hit anyone up there.”
White Sox manager Pedro Grifol wished Farmer a “speedy recovery” as well.
“Guys are throwing harder and harder in the game,” Grifol said. “Pitching up in the zone, it’s one of the things the last couple years that’s really taken to the front of game plans.”
Farmer will have some external stitches removed in a week and have his teeth re-evaluated for potential further procedures, the Twins announced later on Wednesday.
The fact that Farmer didn’t have a fracture, Baldelli said, was “probably some sort of miracle.”
The manager was effusive in his praise for his players for the way they refocused and went on to take the series from the White Sox with a 3-1 win.
“They’re amazing. I barely had the ability to do my job, and they’re going out there and playing,” Baldelli said. “They went out there and did everything they could possibly do to come together and win this ballgame.”
Willi Castro entered as a pinch-runner for Farmer, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Cincinnati. He has started seven of 12 games for the Twins, filling in at second base for Jorge Polanco and more recently at shortstop for Carlos Correa.
Polanco (left knee inflammation) is on the injured list along with three other regulars: Joey Gallo, Max Kepler and Alex Kirilloff. Correa (mid-back spasms) missed his fourth straight game on Wednesday. He could return to the lineup on Thursday.