June 8 (UPI) — New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner received six stitches on his bottom lip after taking a batting helmet — one he threw at the dugout wall — to the face during Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
After Cleveland Indians right fielder Jordan Luplow robbed Gardner of a hit in the sixth inning, the veteran outfielder thew his helmet upon returning to the dugout at Progressive Field. The helmet ricocheted and caught Gardner in the mouth.
Gardner said the recoil, which quickly went viral on social media, didn’t hurt that much.
“Not as bad as getting the stitches put in,” Gardner told reporters.
MLB Statcast gave Luplow only a 20 percent chance of making the catch in right-center field.
Gardner’s frustrating day began in his first at-bat, when he hit what would have been a no-doubt home run to right field. The ball went foul and the Yankees didn’t score until Didi Gregorius‘ two-run homer later in the inning.
Cleveland slowly rallied and took a 4-2 lead by the time Yankees starter CC Sabathia departed the game after five innings.
“It is frustration building up,” Gardner said. “We gave up the lead there and then I hit a ball like that and it’s an out.”
Gardner’s batting average has dropped to a career-worst .217 in the midst of a 1-for-23 slump.
The Yankees fell to 39-24 with Saturday’s loss. New York enters play Sunday tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the AL East Division.