MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Willy Adames returned to action less than two weeks after getting hit on the head by a foul ball while sitting in a dugout.
Adames started at shortstop and batted second on Wednesday night against Baltimore after getting activated earlier in the day. Adames homered in his first at bat with a 400-foot drive over the center-field wall.
“Obviously it was a little scary — scary time — but thank God everything went well,” Adames said before the game. “It could be way worse.”
The Brewers optioned second baseman Brice Turang to Triple-A Nashville.
Adames was standing on the steps behind the railing of the Brewers’ dugout during the second inning of a 15-1 loss to San Francisco on May 26 when a line drive from teammate Brian Anderson struck him on the head. Adames said the liner hit him on the left side, around the temple.
He was taken to a hospital later that night and placed on the 7-day concussion list the next day.
“It was pretty shocking,” Adames said. “Obviously, I was a little scared right after I got hit. You really don’t know what’s going on in there till you get hit like that. After I got the image in the hospital, that kind of calmed me down. I knew after that, I was safe.”
Adames said the doctor who examined him told the 28-year-old how lucky he was to avoid serious injury.
“He said it right away. ‘You got lucky. You’ve got a really hard head,’ “ Adames said. “I was like, ‘Everybody knows that.’ “
Adames said the freak incident won’t stop him from continuing to watch the action from the dugout steps rather than sitting on the bench. But it did help him understand the importance of keeping a close eye on the action while in the dugout.
“It’s scary, man,” Adames said. “You don’t really realize that until something like that happens. We’re always here making jokes, having fun. We don’t think about it until something like that happens.”
Adames said he started feeling better a couple of days after getting hit. He was activated after playing two games for the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, one at designated hitter and another at shortstop.
“Gradually increased activities and there were no issues,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “None at all. I think Saturday and Sunday were two really good days where he got back into the full baseball swing of things. That’s when we knew we were trending toward this day of activation.”
Milwaukee hoped Adames would boost their lineup as they compete with Pittsburgh for the NL Central lead.
Adames was selected the Brewers’ most valuable player by the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America each of the last two seasons, though he’s off to a slow start this year. Adames is batting .205 with a .292 on-base percentage, nine homers and 27 RBIs in 51 games.
Adames’ return meant a demotion for Turang, who has played great defense in his rookie season but has struggled at the plate.
Turang went 5 of 10 in his first four games and hit a grand slam in the Brewers’ home-opening 10-0 victory over the New York Mets, but he’s tailed off since. Turang is batting .205 with a .254 on-base percentage, three homers and 14 RBIs in 57 games.
“You see some of the best players in the big leagues have been optioend before,” Turang said. “It’s part of your journey. It is what it is. You’ve got to produce up here, and that’s what it’s about. I’ve got to go back and get right. I’ll be back.”