The New York Yankees first official summer camp workout was hit with horror Saturday as pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was slammed in the head by a line drive off the bat of slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
The frightening scene took place just minutes into live batting practice and caused right-hander Tanaka, 31, to collapse on the ground for around five minutes before he was able to sit up.
Tanaka’s hat flew off and he immediately collapsed to the ground, cradling his head at Yankee Stadium.
Trainers quickly ran to Tanaka and appeared to check his vision, as Stanton also fell to the ground and held his head in fear.
Tanaka just got drilled by Stanton pic.twitter.com/AY1tH9D7U1
They appeared to treat the right side of his head before Tanaka was helped to his feet and walked off the field with help.
Stanton, who had his jaw broken by a high fastball in 2014, bent over at home plate and watched motionlessly.
New York star Aaron Judge repeatedly waved behind home plate and asked a video journalist to stop taking images.
Yankees players, some still stretching at the start of the club’s first official practice since Major League Baseball set a truncated 60-game schedule last month, stood or knelt silently.
Stanton was the third batter Tanaka faced to start the session, and no protective screen was in place.
The music that was playing over the sound system was turned off and a screen was put in front of the mound.
Pitcher Jordan Montgomery began warming up and started to throw to hitters about five minutes after Tanaka walked off.
Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames put a screen in front of the mound before left-hander Montgomery starting facing hitters again.
Tanaka was 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA last season. The Japanese star is 75-43 in six years with the Yankees.
There was no update available on any injuries he may have received.
The incident marred the Yankees’ first official workout since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the sport in March.
MLB teams restarted ‘spring’ training on Friday in anticipation of the league’s 60-game season scheduled to begin later this month, while several members of the Boston Red Sox have already tested positive for coronavirus.
The Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, and Atlanta Braves were among the other teams that returned to the field on Friday.
Of course, due to the ongoing pandemic affecting nearly all aspects of American life, some adjustments are being made. A few players were seen wearing masks, while nearly all staffers had their face and hands covered as they disinfected the equipment.