In a scary incident during yesterday’s Grapefruit League contest, Rays propect Garrett Whitley was struck in the face by a foul ball that entered the team’s dugout. He has been diagnosed with “multiple facial fractures,” according to manager Kevin Cash (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, on Twitter).
On the positive side, Whitley was in stable enough condition to spend the night at home rather than in a hospital bed. The 22-year-old outfielder did not lose consciousness at any point. It seems there’s reason to hope that he avoided the most grievous injuries that could conceivably have occurred.
That said, the early indication is that Whitley will be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. He’s slated to visit with a specialist to chart a path back to health. It seems fair to presume that the timeline will not really be evident for some time.
It’s particularly unfortunate timing for Whitley, who originally joined the Tampa Bay organization as the 13th overall pick of the 2015 draft. He was sidelined for all of 2018 due to a shoulder injury, then returned with a solid but unexceptional showing last year at the High-A level.
No doubt Whitley had hoped to make up for lost time in 2020. He’ll first have to get back to full health before tackling the upper minors. Fortunately, he’s still quite youthful. MLBTR extends its best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.