Brandon Morrow said he was fearing the worst -- a broken leg - when a line shot off the bat of Baltimore’s Wilson Betemit rocketed off his right shin during Wednesday night’s game at Rogers Centre.
“Yeah, we had that happen here just a few weeks ago -- Jeff Niemann -- that’s what I was thinking on the way off,” the starting pitcher said in the Blue Jays clubhouse -- where he was standing -- following Toronto’s 4-1 win over the Orioles.
“It hurt a lot. It’s feeling a lot better now. I think just the X-rays coming back negative makes it feel better.”
Niemann is a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays who took a liner off his right ankle in a game against the Blue Jays back on May 14, fracturing his fibula.
Morrow is luckier.
He was struck in the right leg by Betemit’s blast in the sixth inning that went for a single and had to be helped off the field.
“It hurt a lot,” he said. “My foot was like numb and it felt like it was swelling up.”
Initial X-rays show no broken bones, just a large bruise on the side of the shin.
Morrow said he expects he won’t even have to miss a start.
“I’m standing and I’m moving around on it okay,” he said. “It’s just a bruise so we’ll just keep working on it. It should be alright. We’ve got two days off in between so that helps a lot.”
Morrow was also feeling a lot better about his game performance where he struck out eight Baltimore batters and left with the Blue Jays leading 4-1 en route to a three-game sweep of the A.L. East front-runners..
It was a far cry from his last outing in Texas where he didn’t even get out of the first inning.
“I came into the game with a little chip on my shoulder after the last time,” Morrow said. “Of course we needed this game. It’s a big win to sweep them and get back in the race. Now we’re just two games back of them. That was a big series for us.”
It was also a memorable night for Omar Vizquel, baseball’s oldest position player at 45 who still has some game left.
Vizquel started at second base and made a brilliant diving stab of a line drive off the bat of Chris Davis in the eighth inning.
Vizquel also laid down a beauty of a sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning that was generously ruled a hit after the rushed throw from catcher Matt Wieters pulled first baseman Mark Reynolds off the bag.
He finished with two hits to break a tie with legendary Baltimore star Brooks Robinson, moving Vizquel into sole possession of 43rd on the all-time hit list with 2,850.
“Last night when he [tied]Brooks Robinson, I think Brett Lawrie asked who that was,” Toronto manager John Farrell said. “So I think it shows you the age disparity on this club. You go from 21 to 45.”
Farrell said Vizquel’s baseball IQ is what sets him apart from so many.
“He’s so smart inside the game,” Farrell said. “He handles a tough right hander, he bunts for a base hit, at a minimum he’s got a sacrifice bunt in waiting. He works another quality at bat to get a base hit to right on a fastball up.
“All his actions, his movements, are so efficient. And I know it comes with 20-plus years of experience but he’s added a lot to this club.”
After the game the Jays made a roster move, optioning pitcher Aaron Laffey to their Triple A affiliate in Las Vegas. A corresponding roster move to fill his spot on Toronto’s roster will be announced on Friday.
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