The Washington Nationals' already-short bench got even shorter in the top of the first inning last night when Yunel Escobar collided with a fan while tracking down a foul ball off Milwaukee Brewers' first baseman Adam Lind's bat.
Lind sliced a 93 mph first-pitch fastball from Gio Gonzalez down the third base line.
Escobar tracked it over his shoulder as it approached the stands but came up short, then tried to pull up as he reached the low wall, stumbling in as he hit the padded rail and coming into contact with the fan, whose chest stopped Escobar in his tracks.
The stunned infielder took a moment to collect himself, but wasn't able to return to the game. Danny Espinosa came on to play second, Anthony Rendon shifted to third and the Nationals went forward in what ended up a 10-3 loss.
"For now, he's day-to-day," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after the game. "Hyperextended. Ran into a fan trying to catch that ball. As he went to reach for it he kind of leaned over with his upper body, fence caught at him at the waist and hyperextended his neck a little bit. So he's a little sore. So we'll see how he is tomorrow, but for now he's day-to-day."
Williams said the Nationals weren't concerned about a concussion or anything serious.
"We don't anticipate it's a head issue or a concussion-type issue," Williams said. "He just got in a bad position and it strained him a little bit, so..."
The Nats' short bench, and Gonzalez's five-inning outing led to at least one "good thing".
Max Scherzer got to make the second pinch hit appearance of his career, and his first since 2009, which probably thrilled the right-hander.
"We're short anyway," Williams explained.
"And any time you're short and you lose a guy that early, you're a man down at that point. It's easier if your starter goes long and he's deep into a game, but that didn't happen tonight. We got through it though. We had enough guys."