Masahiro Tanaka incident was slow torment for Giancarlo Stanton
A batted ball clocked at 112 mph and racing for a pitcher’s head obviously isn’t moving in slow motion.
Yet, that is the way Giancarlo Stanton viewed his scorching line drive that hit Masahiro Tanaka on the right side of the head during a simulated game Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
“As fast as it happens it is more slow-mo,’’ Stanton said Monday on a Zoom call from Yankee Stadium ahead of the club’s first intrasquad game in which Stanton was a DH for the Yankees team against the Bombers. “For me, you see it in slow-mo and you want that ball to keep veering off and it didn’t, kind of like when I got hit. Everything is kind of like slow-mo; look how fast it happened later. At the end of the day I was glad he was awake, functioning and responsive.’’
Tanaka was placed in concussion protocol and Aaron Boone reported Monday that the right-hander exercised at the Stadium and did well.
Stanton, then with the Marlins, was hit in the face by a pitch from Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers on Sept. 11, 2014 and suffered small fractures, dental damage and lacerations which forced him to miss the final 17 games of the season.
“That was a scary moment for me, terrible initially of course. You never want to see your teammate on the ground, especially by the hand of yourself,’’ Stanton said of watching Tanaka crumpling on the mound. “I talked to him, he appears to be fine given the circumstances. My stance is as long he’s OK, I am OK. I think we really dodged something that could have been a lot worse.’’
Asked when the earliest was Tanaka could return and get ready for a possible 60-game schedule, Boone didn’t have an exact date but was encouraged by what Tanaka did Monday.
“I don’t know the earliest day. I will start to ask that question later today and probably into [Tuesday]. He did ride the [exercise] bike [Monday], 15 or 20 minutes. That is obviously another important step as well going through his baseline testing that he did really well on. Look, all signs continue to be encouraging with Masa,’’ Boone said. “He got his heart rate up today [and] there were no side effects, no symptoms. We continue to be encouraged but like we are doing in this new world of COVID, similar with Masa, we will take it day by day but I would say we are very encouraged with where he is at and how he has responded.’’
Boone said Tanaka is technically still in concussion protocol.
After talking about Tanaka, Stanton touched on a number of subjects. He said his immediate goal is to get ready to be a DH at the start of the season, that he didn’t participate in a game recently in Palm Beach with Justin Verlander and other stars as had been reported, he hears discussions about racial inequality that are long overdue and didn’t know what it would take for him to opt out of the season.
“I can’t answer that, something crazy would have to happen in the clubhouse or in the country. It is all new territory for us, so … in all the sports there is a lot of uncertainty in a lot of things,’’ Stanton said of opting out. “But we are here, going by the protocols we need and lined up to be successful this year. As long as nothing crazy happens I think we will be all right.’’
Stanton said the plan is to use spring training 2.0 to be a DH when/if the season opens on July 23.
“Going to go through camp, make sure we got the schedule lined up to be ready to DH and go from there. With the season being so short it is sort of a one-stop shop of getting it right,’’ said Stanton, who explained the strained calf he suffered in February is 100 percent. He also didn’t rule out playing the outfield at some point this season.
As for the movement against racial injustice, Stanton said it has been effective.
“There is more [listening]. I feel like the doors have been opened that should have been opened a long time ago. Now is the time to let it be known this has to stop,’’ Stanton said.
Stanton said he was in Palm Beach but didn’t participate in that game.
“I was down there working out with them but I wasn’t part of that specific game that has been reported,’’ Stanton said.
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