A scary scene occurred at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday when an umpire got hit in the face with a 99 mph fastball thrown by New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole. The incident happened in the seventh inning and the Yankees were up 11-1 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Cole threw the pitch in the zone, but the catcher, Kyle Higashioka, thought the pitch was going to be a breaking ball. That led to Higashioka missing the ball and hitting home plate umpire, John Tumpane, in the face.
As soon as Tumpane get hit, he went to the ground and sat on the dirt for a few seconds. He was able to get on his feet a walk for a few moments before being looked at by trainers. After the inning, Cole apologized for the mixup with the Higashioka. The Yankees went on to win 13-2, and it was Cole's 100th win in his career.
Scary moment as home plate umpire John Tumpane takes a 99 mph fastball straight to the mask pic.twitter.com/uM5hhp8L9k— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) September 17, 2020
"I'm really thankful to be able to do it in a Yankees uniform,” Cole said after the game as reported by MLB.com. "It's a special number. This is a special team, and a lot of special things happen here. I'm blessed to be able to stay healthy enough to take the ball that many times and play on enough good teams along the way that supported me."
Cole, 30, signed with the Yankees at the end of the 2019 season after spending the last two years with the Houston Astros. So far this season, Cole has won six games with three losses and has posted a 3.00 ERA and 87 strikeouts. Cole his coming off a career year in 2019, leading the AL in ERA and MLB in strikeouts. He was named to the third All-Star team and was also selected to the All-MLB First Team.
In December of last year, Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million contract. The hope is Cole is the missing piece the Yankees needed to get back to the World Series. "We feel like we have the makings of a really good rotation," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said to MLB.com at the time. "I feel like sometimes our rotation doesn't quite get the credit that I think it deserves. Obviously adding a guy like Cole to that mix makes it one of the best."