Enough things have gone wrong for the Padres this year. The last thing they needed before the season wraps up this week is for their star player to get injured in a freak accident.
In the first inning of Monday night’s game against the Giants, Juan Soto was minding his own business in the on-deck circle while Fernando Tatis Jr. was at the plate. San Francisco starter Logan Webb threw a slider that Tatis checked his swing on. The ball hit his bat and ricocheted into foul territory—an unremarkable occurrence that happens multiple times in an MLB game. Except this time, the ball happened to carom right toward where Soto was standing and drilled him in the arm.
Juan Soto took a foul ball to the arm while in the on deck circle pic.twitter.com/x9rh5JkXtZ— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 26, 2023
Soto was briefly checked out by a member of the San Diego training staff and was able to stay in the game.
Soto was incredibly unlucky to get hit by the ball, but at least he was lucky that Tatis didn’t put a full swing on the pitch. The foul ball had an exit velocity of only 73 mph. That’s a lot slower than your average fastball, but still, it couldn’t have felt good to get hit in the arm.
It’s unusual but not unprecedented for a player to get hit by a foul ball while waiting on deck. The worst example is Juan Encarnación, who was hit in the eye by a foul ball in 2007, shattering his orbital bone. The Cardinals’ team doctor called it “the worst trauma I’ve seen.” He never played baseball again.