It was about the most frightening sight -- and sound -- a Yankee fan could imagine: A 92 MPH fastball homing in on the head of Derek Jeter, and then caroming off his batting helmet with a resounding THWACK!!
Nick Swisher, in the on-deack circle, couldn't bear to look.
"I heard it and kinda closed my eyes real quick because I thought he was going down," Swisher said. "And then he was just kinda standing there and I was like, what a champ. That didn’t faze him at all."
Luckily for everyone concerned, Jeter took the brunt of the impact on the bill of his helmet, which cracked in two places. And although there was a tense moment as Jeter said something to Corey Kluber, the rookie who uncorked the pitch, while Kluber stared back silently, there were no real repercussions other than a CC Sabathia pitch that sailed behind the derriere of Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth inning.
"I told him, 'Be careful when you throw up and in,'" Jeter reported, although the TV replays told a different story.
In any case, Jeter characteristically insisted on staying in the game, gruffly pushing Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue aside, although he admitted afterward that the moment was frightening.
"It’s scary when it’s coming," he said. "It is what it is. It’s over with now."
And when someone asked if the impact had hurt, Jeter snapped, "No, it felt good. Of course it hurt. You get hit with a 90-something mile per hour fastball, it’s going to hurt. There’s no problem, so I’m fine."
Jeter admitted he was angry with Kluber, a 25-year-old rookie making his fifth major-league start. "Of course you’re angry. No one wants to get hit in the head,'' he said. “I don’t think anyone throws at someone’s head on purpose. I don’t see any reason why. I haven’t faced the guy and I don’t know the guy. I don’t think he did that, but if you’re throwing up and in, you’ve got to be careful. That’s a dangerous area to be throwing. Fortunately, there are no problems."