Jake Lamb’s mind was elsewhere when the Chicago White Sox designated hitter came to bat in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics.
Earlier in the inning, A’s starter Chris Bassitt exited after Brian Goodwin’s liner back to the mound hit him in the head.
“It’s a lot more than baseball at that point,” said Lamb, who spent time with the A’s last season. “It’s a friend, it’s an old teammate. Anytime you get hit in the head like that, it’s a very scary situation.”
The Sox beat the A’s 9-0 in front of 21,025 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Everyone’s thoughts were with Bassitt, who was taken away on a cart.
The A’s tweeted that Bassitt was “conscious and aware” as he was transported to a hospital.
“Bass is conscious. He was the entire time,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told Oakland reporters. “We don’t think the eye is a problem at this point. It felt like it was below it. He’s got some cuts. They had to do some stitches. He’s in a scan and we’ll know more about potential fractures or whatever (Wednesday) or later tonight. We don’t know right now.”
Goodwin tweeted, “You are in my prayers for sure, brother.”
Bassitt, 32, has been one of the more productive pitchers in baseball this season with an American League-leading 12 wins. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
“He’s the No. 1 concern,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Everybody — if you’ve been around, and our club’s been around — that happens, it’s very concerning. There isn’t anybody out there that wasn’t worried about him, and it didn’t matter whether you had your uniform on or theirs.
“It’s one of those things. You can have a bad injury and the game goes on, you just have to play. But nobody’s oblivious to the potential danger.”
Bassitt’s big-league career began in 2014 with the Sox, who traded him to the A’s with Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley and Rangel Ravelo for Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa on Dec. 9, 2014.
“I just hope Chris is all right,” Lamb said. “Will probably text a couple of the guys over there. I’m just praying he’s all right.”
Tuesday’s game resumed with the bases loaded, no outs and Burch Smith on the mound. Andrew Vaughn hit a two-run single, and Lamb followed with a three-run home run for a 5-0 Sox lead.
“You try to flush it all out,” Lamb said. “You breathe. I went up there and I knew the guy had a really good fastball, so I was looking to get on time for a fastball and I saw the curveball pop up and put a good swing on it.”
José Abreu hit a three-run home run in the fourth. Tim Anderson added an RBI triple in the sixth.
“We played well, but there’s no doubt that it has a very depressing effect on the A’s just because they’re concerned,” La Russa said. “It was a solid hit. You’re worried about his health and everything else that goes through your mind. It’s tough to play a ballgame when you see that kind of injury to your teammate.”
Sox starter Reynaldo López allowed one hit, walked two and struck out four in five innings.
“Every time you see something like (a pitcher getting hit), it is tough to swallow,” López said through an interpreter. “But at the same time, we know that that can happen. It’s sad that it happened. It was really hard. We have to keep playing.”
López, Ryan Burr and Mike Wright combined to limit the A’s to four hits.
“Reynaldo really threw the ball well,” La Russa said. “He set the tempo right from the get-go. His stuff was excellent, he made a lot of good pitches. And when he works quickly — and later on, (Burr) and Mike did the same thing — when that happens, your defense is on their toes and they’ll make plays.
“There was like a dark cloud around that game the whole time. But you’ve still got to play.”