Atlanta Braves slugger Justin Upton was taken out of Thursday night’s game after Cleveland Indians pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hit him in the hand with a 92 mph fastball. It was in the bottom of the fifth inning and following two strike outs that Jimenez threw the errant pitch.
I didn’t see any indication that it was on purpose, as it seemed pretty clear he was trying to pitch Upton inside and the ball just tailed right into his hand.
After the impact, Upton immediately winced in pain and bent over holding his hand. I feared the worst at that point. That very pitch had ended the Braves’ postseason before it ever started. The Braves couldn’t possibly advance past the NLDS with Upton.
Then he tried to stay in the game. After a brief check by the trainer, Upton regained his composure and walked to the first base bag. I noted the way he carried his hand: at one point, the trainer bumped into his hand and Upton didn’t even wince.
So I’m not too concerned about it. Upton tried to stay in the game and Fredi Gonzalez took him out for precautionary reasons, like any manager should with a 13-game lead in late August. If Upton had looked to be in pain or had been holding his hand up, this would be a totally different situation.
So until I’m proven wrong, I’ll hold off on going into full-blown panic mode.