Less than six weeks after a line drive hit him in the face and fractured his cheek, Chris Bassitt is officially returning to action.
Bassitt will start for the Oakland A’s on Thursday, first reported by Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle.
The All-Star right-hander was hit by the liner on Aug. 17, and had surgery a week later for a displaced tripod fracture. Luckily he avoided injuries to his brain or eye, and soon he was cleared to resume throwing. Throughout his recovery, Bassitt was vocal about his determination to get back on the mound this season, and now he’ll do so faster than anybody could have expected.
In addition to physical considerations, Bassitt has also made clear multiple times that psychologically he has no fear of pitching to hitters again, especially since he doesn’t remember his scary incident and hasn’t watched the replay. He discussed that topic again on Tuesday.
Chris Bassitt. Certified badass. pic.twitter.com/jpkbDtuR1G— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) September 22, 2021
“I’ve thrown hundreds of thousands of pitches in my day and it’s happened one time, so I mean, it is what it is,” said Bassitt. “If it happens again, I know the doctor to go to, I’ll say that.”
His start will come against the Seattle Mariners at the Coliseum. James Kaprielian was originally scheduled, but he’ll likely go to the bullpen, reports insider Martin Gallegos. The rookie Kaprielian has put in a career-high workload this season, and the team had previously planned to shift him to relief duty last weekend until circumstances delayed that idea.
Before the injury, Bassitt was having a phenomenal season that earned him an All-Star berth and had him in the Cy Young conversation. He did get knocked around in both his meetings with the Mariners, totaling eight runs in nine innings, but his overall numbers are excellent.
- Bassitt: 3.22 ERA, 151 ip, 154 Ks, 35 BB, 15 HR, 3.32 FIP
Unfortunately, his return might be coming too late to help the A’s postseason chances. After slipping hard over the past month, Oakland is now three games out of the Second Wild Card with 11 to go, and their odds of making it are down to 2% at best. But regardless of playoff implications, or of how long or how well his start goes, it will be amazing to see a healthy Bassitt back on the mound, pitching in the majors.
Bassitt "It’s been a little bit of a torture chamber I've been in a little bit. But yeah, I’m finally happy to be back and hopefully help the team win." (2/2)— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) September 22, 2021