D-backs’ Bradley takes line drive in face but avoids serious injury

PHOENIX — Archie Bradley has only a vague recollection of the line drive that knocked him down, then out of the Diamondbacks game Tuesday. 

Maybe that’s a good thing.

It may have been the most frightening moment at Chase Field, comparable only to the time when Houston left-hander Billy Wagner was struck in the head by a Kelly Stinnett liner in July, 1998.

"Tried to throw a curve ball in there for a strike, and saw the pitch going toward the plate," Bradley said. "Then I kind of woke up and I was laying down. And I was like ‘Oh, crap, what just happened.’"

Fortunately, maybe not that much.

Certainly not as much as could have.

Despite everything, the 115 mph liner by Carlos Gonzalez that hit Bradley in the right side of the face, the moments he lay face down on the mound, the ambulance ride to Phoenix St. Joseph’s Hospital for further testing, the FaceTime session with his mom Pam in Oklahoma to let her know everything was OK, Bradley was back in the clubhouse when the game ended, slapping hands with his teammates after their 12-5 victory over Colorado.

Bradley gave the crowd a couple of thumbs-up signs as he was led off, and maybe he’s right.

Although doctors will check again for fractures when the swelling subsides, Bradley showed no signs of concussion or neurological damage, D-backs trainer Ken Crenshaw said. 

The only apparent issues were small changes in the sinus cavity, Crenshaw said.

“The jaw looks great, his orbital looks great, vision’s fine and all of those things looked really well. So it looks favorable. They just want a favorable read (Wednesday)," Crenshaw said.

Bradley even spent three minutes with the media after the game, joking "it’s not pretty to look in the mirror, I can tell you that."

Bradley came into his fourth start of the season at 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA, and he was one of five major leaguers since 1914 to give up two hits or fewer while pitching six innings or more in two of his first three major league games.

No one could hit him, until Gonzalez did, who never would have done it like this. 

"For me as a hitter, it is a nightmare," Gonzalez said. "Seeing one of those guys going down, especially a guy like him, who is really young and starting his career. It just ruined my night, It ruined everyone’s night. You are just trying to hit the ball and it really sucks when you see a guy go down like that."

Gonzalez lined Bradley’s 2-0 curveball straight back to the mound, and Bradley went down immediately, prompting the team’s medical staff, manager Chip Hale and pitching coach Mike Harkey to run to the mound. 

"Opened my eyes, I could see. Wiggled my feet," said Bradley, who never lost consciousness. "The next thing I know the trainers were there, and just kind of walked me through it from there. They asked can you move your feet. Can you feel me squeezing your finger? Since I could go through everything, at least I knew major, brain-wise, I was OK. I could feel everything. I could get up. I was happy about that."

Bradley did not shy away from looking at a replay, saying he has seen it 15 or 20 times. He realizes the ending could have been a lot worse.

D-backs 12, Rockies 5

"After watching it, it could have easily got me in the eye or directly in the face. Got to think the Lord above is watching over me," Bradley said.

"It was as bad as I have seen a guy get hit on the field," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "Terrible. Certainly a dark moment. I hope Archie is OK."

Former D-backs right-hander Brandon McCarthy suffered a concussion and a skull fracture when he was struck by a line drive in September of 2012 while with Oakland, where D-backs manager Chip Hale was a coach. Cleveland left-hander Herb Score suffered broken bones when he was hit in the right eye by a line drive on May 7, 1957.

"It’s really scary," Hale said. "I was there in Oakland with McCarthy, and it ended up being really bad. The first thing ‘Crank’ (Crenshaw) was asking was, can you see? He was like ‘I am really messed up. I am really messed up.’ There wasn’t much blood, so that was another good sign. He’s a tough kid. It’s a very dangerous game."

Bradley almost certainly will be placed on the disabled list, Hale said.

"It looks like it probably is going to go in that direction, because if you see the swelling he has and the damage that is in the sinus or whatever, it is probably best to do that."

Because of an off day Wednesday, the D-backs do not need a fifth starter until May 5 at the latest. A reliever is a likely option to take the roster spot until then.

Mark Trumbo had four hits, including his second homer, and four RBI to key the victory, but he said Bradley was in his mind.

"It’s a gut punch, man," Trumbo said. "You wouldn’t wish that on anyone in the world. It is really tough. You want to do what you can to help the cause, but your thoughts are obviously with him. Fortunately he looked all right when he went out of there."

Bradley will learn more when he gets more tests.

"I just hate it because now I don’t know the diagnosis, I don’t know how bad it is or if it’s even bad at all," Bradley said. "I’m just glad this team won. Now my concern is to get healthy and get back out there."

Needing only a double for the cycle, Mark Trumbo took a really wiiiiide turn around first base after dumping a hit down the right field line in the seventh inning. Then he put on the brakes and went back to first. "It would have been nice obviously, but it wasn’t the right time to run," Trumbo said of a cycle. "I’m not just going to run into an out."

8 — hitting streak by A.J. Pollock, a career long

*Patrick Corbin took another step forward Tuesday, throwing 35 pitches in two innings in a simulated game at Chase Field. "He looked great," manager Chip Hale said. Corbin is scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training game Monday at Salt River Fields, his first game competition since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, 2014. "Every day seems like it’s getting better and better," Corbin said. Corbin is on schedule to return "early to mid-June," Hale said. He is expected to make two or three more starts in the extended spring program before going on a rehab assignment.

*Andrew Chafin got his first major victory by going 2 ⅔ innings on an emergency assignment, replacing Archie Bradley when Bradley was forced to leave in the second  

*David Hernandez threw 20 pitches in an extended spring training game at Salt River Fields on Tuesday morning. His velocity was a tick down, manager Chip Hale said, but that was to be expected. A few more of those and Hernandez will begin a rehab assignment.

*Yasmany Tomas seems to be getting more at ease by the day. He beat out an infield single in the fourth inning, walked in the fifth and doubled in the seventh inning to drive in Mark Trumbo. Tomas had his first major league double and his first RBI, and the best thing about the double was that he pulled into left-center field. Most of his hits have done the other way.

After seeing that Archie Bradley was not seriously hurt by a Carlos Gonzalez line drive, Paul Goldschmidt made it a point to speak to Gonzalez at first base. "I figured he was concerned, so once Archie started walking off the field, I would go over there and let Cargo know he was conscious and talking and hopefully going to be OK. That can’t be easy. You are never trying to hurt anyone. I know we are out there competing against those guys, but something like an injury is far more important than the ball game out there."    

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