Baseball may not be the most physical sport in terms of contact, but few things in sports are more painful than being struck by a 95-mph fastball.
“It is pain that can last for weeks, it can leave a hideous mark that can last for months and it can instill a fear that can last forever,” baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian wrote in his article, “The Horrors of Getting Hit by a Pitch.”
Kurkjian spoke with several Big League players to get their take on what it feels like to be on the wrong end of a 90-plus-mph pitch.
According to Baltimore Orioles CF Adam Jones, Rule No. 1 when you get hit by a pitch: “You can’t rub it. Don’t rub it.”
Detroit Tigers RF Torii Hunter said, “Getting hit in the back really hurts, too. I tell people, ‘Take your shirt off and let me hit you in the middle of your back with my open hand as hard as I can, and see how much that hurts. With a baseball, multiply that by two—or three—and that’s what it feels like. When you get hit like that, it’s going to leave a mark … [and] it hurts for a lot longer than that.”
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“Breathtaking” is how New York Mets 3B David Wright describes taking a shot to the ribs. He said, “It’s like jumping into freezing cold water. You need to take a knee to catch your breath. It hurts.”
The worst pain Adam LaRoche experienced came from being struck in the back of the knee by a 90-mph cutter. The Washington Nationals 1B said, “The ball hit me so hard, it bounced halfway back to the pitcher’s mound. I went straight to the ground after that one. When I got back up, I had to take a knee. I was just trying not to throw up.”
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Baltimore Orioles CF Adam Jones recalls being unable to do anything with his hand for a month after being struck in the wrist by a 96-mph fastball. He said, “I iced it, but it didn’t help. The only way to get it better is to rest it, but there is no time for rest. This is Major League Baseball.”
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Cleveland Indians 1B Nick Swisher on getting plunked in the back of the elbow: “My fingers were locked in a fist for five minutes.”
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