However, the blow near his eye worsened to the point that he wouldn’t have been able to hit in the ninth inning had his spot come up.
“He had some blurry vision, eye was watering — real windy day,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “His eye was swelling, and they kept ice on it in between innings. He was tearing up, his vision.
“I wasn’t going to put him up there with a guy throwing that hard and him not being able to see properly. It just got a little worse there in those last two innings. It was good for the home run, though. That was a long ball.”
Smith said the ball didn’t catch him in the eye itself, but just below his left eye, almost high on his upper cheek bone. He believes the swelling has something to do with his sight being a bit off.
“Eye itself is all right,” he said. “Vision is a little blurry. Didn’t hit me in the eye, I imagine there’s something pushing on it. But I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. … When it first happened, it didn’t and then in the outfield the next inning I noticed it, and then it got a little blurry.”
The batting eye is a precious thing for any hitter, but especially someone with the understanding of the strike zone that Smith has. With two hits Thursday, he raised his average to .310, and his .392 on-base percentage is best on the team.
Around the horn: Center fielder Adam Jones has hits in his past seven games, and hit .375 in the series against the Tigers. Smith has hits in five straight games. … Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar was suspended two games for using a homophobic slur on the field Wednesday in Atlanta, meaning he will miss the first game of the three-game series with the Orioles, beginning Friday at Camden Yards.