CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs center fielder Junior Lake put a scare into his teammates and anyone watching the Cubs' 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night when he crashed into the outfield wall in the second inning of a scoreless game.
“He hit that thing really hard,” Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano said afterward. “I don’t think he slowed down at all. He wasn’t moving at first. That was kind of scary, but then he started responding. All of a sudden he came to and he wanted to play.”
Ruggiano was first on the scene coming over from right field and retrieving the ball, which was hit by Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Lake actually went hard into the door that leads to the Cubs' indoor batting cages. His leg and then face smashed into the metal.
“Junior is a gamer,” starter Travis Wood said. “He’s going to give you everything he’s got when he’s on the field. You appreciate that.”
Lake may or may not prove to be an everyday player, but he does have an aggressive nature to his game. He swings hard at the plate, runs the bases hard and he’s willing to do what it takes in the outfield. He lay on the ground for a moment but was able to walk off the field on his own. Amazingly, he’s going to be all right, according to manager Rick Renteria. Lake suffered just a few scrapes, but will be re-evaluated on Friday.
“Last year, too,” Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro said. “Once in Arizona and twice in Colorado. I said, ‘Hey, you’re not in the Dominican. You have to be careful. Don’t kill yourself.’”
Apparently there aren’t as many fences or walls in Dominican fields, where Castro said "you can run all day."
But Castro wasn’t surprised that Lake went all out.
“I saw that I think he broke something,” Castro said. “He wanted to stay in the game.”
Ruggiano was worried, at first, but Lake quickly regained his senses despite the sound he made and the violent nature of the collision.
“There’s not really a safe place to hit out there,” he said. “You guys heard that because it was a metal door. I’m pretty sure everyone in the stadium heard that.”