Los Angeles Angels outfielder Taylor Ward suffered a severe injury during Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays when the American was hit in the head by a pitch from Alek Mannoah in the fifth inning. Batting with the bases all loaded, Ward was struck by the pitch near his left eye. The speed of the ball was nearly 147 km/h, and its sheer force knocked the helmet off of the outfielder’s head. Ward went down and the umpire signalled for the Angels’ medical staff.
Fortunately, Ward was not unconscious and walked on his feet before being carried off on a stretcher. The damage to his face was visible, and his left eye appeared closed due to swelling. Blood was streaming down his face. Teammates, players and fans all watched along and hoped the player was fine. Mannoah, who threw the pitch, was visibly distraught as This was the second time he had hit a batter during the game.
He had previously hit superstar batter Shohei Ohtani’s foot in the first inning. Since Ward couldn’t continue, Andrew Velasquez substituted for him while Luis Rengifo moved left due to scoring. Manoah was replaced by left-handed pitcher Genesis Cabrera. Angels left-hander Reid Detmers said, “It’s scary. You’re just hoping and praying that he’s all right, that he gets up.”
Manoah deeply upset over the accident
Before play resumed following the accident, Blue Jays manager John Schneider replaced Manoah with Genesis Cabrera. Manoah had stood with his hands on his head on the mound following the accident. He said, “That’s probably the worst feeling ever. Want to pray for him and his family. That’s the last thing you want to do, no matter the situation, no matter the team, no matter anything. I feel really bad about it. I’ll be looking to see how he’s doing.”
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Oddly, this isn’t the first time Manoah has accidentally hit a batter on the head with a pitch. In September 2021, the pitcher hit Oakland’s Starling Marte on the head with a 148 km/h ball. Luckily, Marte’s helmet blocked the majority of the impact and the situation was not as serious as Ward’s. The batter even stayed in the game to run bases before being replaced.
The Angels were defeated 6-1 by the Blue Jays on Saturday at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.