OAKLAND – An initial X-ray of Stephen Vogt’s right wrist showed no fractures after he was hit by a ninth-inning pitch Friday night against the Royals.
That qualified as good news for the A’s in the immediate aftermath of a 5-2 loss to Kansas City. But a clearer picture of Vogt’s status should materialize Saturday morning when he gets examined again by Oakland’s training staff.
Therefore, consider all emotions on hold regarding the A’s and their (likely) All-Star catcher. Vogt, hit by a 2-2 pitch from lefty Franklin Morales that he said got him in the wrist and hand, expressed relief that there were no broken bones. But neither he nor A’s manager Bob Melvin would speculate on his availability in the immediate future.
“It’s painful, but I’ll be OK,” Vogt said after emerging from the trainer’s room after the game. “Anytime you get hit up near the face or hand, your initial reaction is hopefully it’s not broken. It doesn’t feel good, but fortunately it’s not fractured.”
It goes without saying that Vogt’s health and availability factors heavily into the A’s chances of continuing their recent surge. And given the history between the A’s and Royals from their contentious three-game series in April, the big question on everyone’s mind was whether Morales hit Vogt on purpose.
The Coliseum crowd booed lustily after Morales came up and in with a 93 mile-per-hour fastball on 2-2 and plunked Vogt with one out in the ninth. Fans unleashed on Morales again after he was pulled from the game following Ben Zobrist’s run-scoring double.
“You’d have to ask them. They hit our guy,” Melvin said when asked if he thought the pitch was intentional.
Royals manager Ned Yost was indeed asked about it after the game.
“Seriously, it's a 2-2 count,” Yost said. “That's one of those things where you've got to be able to recognize what is intentional and what is not intentional. With a 2-2 count, Franklin just flew wide open trying to bury a sinker and hit him.”
Vogt noted that he and Morales were winter-ball teammates in Venezuela one year.
Asked if he thought that the pitch was intentional, he replied: “I can’t answer that. I know this. Franklin Morales and I go back. I would consider him a teammate of mine, and so I doubt he would do that. I know him really well. Obviously, a 2-2 count, in the ninth inning, four-run game. I doubt it. But you never wanna get hit up and in. You never wanna get hit in the hand. But that’s not for me to judge.”
A’s starter Jesse Hahn concurred that he didn’t think Morales was intentionally going after Vogt in the first game since last April’s series at Kauffman Stadium, where the benches cleared three times around tensions stemming from Brett Lawrie’s hard slide at second base into the Royals’ Alcides Escobar. Royals starter Yordano Ventura hit Lawrie with a pitch in the middle game of the series, then teammate Kelvin Herrera threw behind Lawrie in the series finale.
Until the ninth inning Friday, all was calm between the A’s and Royals. Does Vogt getting hit renew the simmering tensions? Right now the A’s have a bigger concern, and that’s the status of Vogt, their most dangerous hitter and the American League’s RBI leader entering Friday.
“Personally I don’t think it was intentional by any means,” Hahn said. “But just with how the (April) series went, I mean, it kind of got him right on the wrist. You don’t want to see anyone get hit there. Hopefully he’s all right.”