Despite a 3-1 win over the Braves on Monday, a visibly shaken Luis Rojas took to the podium after Kevin Pillar was hit in the face by a Jacob Webb fastball in the seventh inning. Pillar left the game with blood pouring from his face, but somehow managed to leave the field under his own power.
Still, Rojas couldn’t shake how scary those first few seconds following the pitch were.
“It was not an easy moment,” Rojas said. “Our prayers are with KP. Everyone here feels for him and his family, who probably watched that happen at home. It's tough. You want to make sure that he's fine, but just being there and watching the whole scene was really tough.”
“That's about as sickening a thing as you can see on a baseball field, when a kid gets hit like that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Hopefully everything works out ok because this guy is nothing but a pro the way he carries himself, the way he plays the game. He's a gamer, that guy. A true pro when we've played against him.”
Hit by the pitch with the bases loaded, Pillar immediately dropped to the ground and was bleeding profusely, while James McCann trotted towards home. McCann said he didn’t actually touch the plate until after Pillar had left the field.
“It's real scary,” McCann said. “Everything kind of stops for a second. He gets hit by the pitch and the last thing on my mind is going to touch home plate.
“Standing in the box, the normal person doesn't realize how fast that ball is coming in there and how quick you have to react,” McCann continued. “It was just one of those things where it looked like that ball was chasing him.”
McCann also told reporters that after the inning ended, he did see Pillar up and walking around in the clubhouse, but Rojas said that Pillar had since been taken to the hospital, where he’d undergo a CT scan and further testing.
Still, he couldn’t believe Pillar had the toughness to stand up and get off the field himself.
“This guy's a warrior,” Rojas said. “He shows up every day and plays hard, and he got up on his own two feet and left. There's no chance I thought he was going to be able to do that when I saw that ball hit him in the face.”
After the game, Pillar seemed to be in good spirits, tweeting that he was going to be fine and giving himself credit for what turned out to be the game-winning RBI.