Tampa Bay Rays prospect Garrett Whitley was hit in the face by a foul ball during Monday's spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles. The minor league outfielder was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injury and was later released. According to ESPN, he is resting at home after suffering a "right facial injury."
Scary moment in Sarasota. #Rays player wearing No. 81 seated in the dugout is struck in the face by a bouncing foul ball off Renato Nunez's bat. He was quickly escorted to the clubhouse by trainers. pic.twitter.com/cWFXhm0lMt— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) March 2, 2020
The incident occurred when Orioles infielder Renato Nunez fouled a ball off toward the Rays dugout. It bounced off the steps and directly into the right side of Whitley's face. Trainers attended to him in the dugout and then walked him to the trainer's room for further evaluation.
Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters that Whitley never lost consciousness during the initial examination. He underwent X-rays at a hospital in Sarasota, Florida.
"That was pretty scary," Cash said, per the Tampa Bay Times. "From the initial test and exams, he was coherent, his eyes were moving fine. He's going to have a pretty good welt. ... The only blood that I saw was a little bit out of his nose, and then almost like the seam of the baseball split him just a little bit [under the eye)] not like a gash."
Whitley took to Twitter on Monday evening and thanked those that had shown support following the incident.
"Thank you to everyone who reached out with well wishes today. I truly appreciate every single one of you," Whitley wrote.
"Glad you are ok, was worried for you. That was a scary incident. Hoping for a speedy recovery," one Rays fan wrote on Twitter after seeing the injury. Several others showed their support on social media, telling Whitley that he was in their thoughts.
Whitley originally joined the Rays as a first-round pick in the 2015 draft out of a New York high school. However, he has moved slowly in the system. He missed all of 2018 due to a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery during spring training. Whitley returned to the field in 2019 with The Charlotte Stone Crabs, the minor league affiliate of the Rays. He hit .226 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs during the season.
(Photo Credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)