Boston’s Turner ‘safe, alert’ after being hit in the face by Tigers’ Manning’s pitch

Detroit News

Fort Myers, Fla. — Boston Red Sox first baseman Justin Turner was taken by ambulance to a hospital after getting hit in the face by a fastball from Tigers right-hander Matt Manning in the first inning Monday.

The pitch seemed to hit the right-handed-hitting Turner flush on the right side of his face, and he was bleeding badly before he was helped off the field.

Reports from the Red Sox said Turner was recovering from soft-tissue injuries and was being monitored for a concussion.

“Justin is safe, alert and in good spirits, given the circumstances,” the statement released by the club read. Manager Alex Cora offered no further updates after the game.

It put the Red Sox’s 7-1 spring win in a completely different perspective.

“Very scary,” Tigers’ manager AJ Hinch said. “We hope JT is OK. Nobody wants anything like that to happen. It kind of shook everybody. I will talk to AC (Cora) and make sure he’s OK. Nasty scene.”

Manning, who had already given up a single and a walk before Turner came to bat, was visibly shaken on the mound. He only recorded one out in that inning, being removed temporarily after 22 pitches.

“It was a complete accident,” Manning said. “The ball just got away. I got a swing-and-miss on a ball up in the zone and tried to go back to it. It got away from me. I definitely want to apologize and let him know it wasn’t intentional, for sure.”

Manning was able to regroup and return to the mound in the second — pitcher re-entry is allowed in spring — recording a pair of strikeouts around a two-out single by Rafael Devers.

“I felt a little bit better,” Manning said. “I’ve been trying to push myself and really get myself back in baseball shape, and I think it got away from me there in the first. I tried to get it back in the second.”

He broke a spike as he was warming up for the second inning and had to change spikes right on the field. It was his slider and changeup that seemed to get him back in sync. There were no radar gun readings at JetBlue Stadium, but it seemed he was throwing his fastball more freely in the second inning.

But, hitting Turner, he said, knocked him off-kilter.

“I just tried to flush it,” he said. “Just get on to the next one and worry about (Turner) after the game. It sucks. It’s unfortunate. It wasn’t intentional at all. But, I was shook up about it a little bit.”

Manning ended up throwing 42 pitches. The goal for his next start, which will be his third of the spring, is 60 pitches and three innings.

Greene heating up

Riley Greene’s last four hits have gone to center field or left field, including a missile shot he hit in the sixth inning Tuesday against Red Sox right-hander Zack Kelly, which flew well over the 379-foot marker in left-center.

“Riley is embracing the fact that he can use the entire field,” Hinch said. “I know we’ve talked about him getting the ball in the air more often, but when he hits it line to line, he is at his best. His balls to center field have been rocketed.”

He hit a two-run home run to left field in Clearwater on Friday. He’s hitting .375 this spring and slugging just under .700.

“He’s also picking good pitches to hit,” Hinch said. “Which is always a precursor to good things happening with Riley.”

Regular-season situation

Not much played out in the Tigers’ favor against the Red Sox, but the fourth and fifth innings did, at least in terms of putting pitchers who are on the roster bubbles in regular-season situations.

Lefty Chasen Shreve, fighting to be the second lefty in the bullpen, pitched a clean fourth inning against three left-handed hitters, striking out Rafael Devers and Niko Kavadas and getting Adam Duvall to ground out.

Leading off in the bottom of the fifth was another lefty, Raimel Tapia.

“That was a perfect setup for us to get Shreve back out there for one left-handed hitter,” Hinch said. “And then we could get (right-hander Mason) Englert, probably for the first time ever, to come into a game in the middle of an inning.”

Englert, the Tigers’ Rule 5 draftee, has been a starting pitcher throughout his pro career. But, his best path to staying with the Tigers is to earn a bullpen job. He has to get used to warming up quicker and coming in mid-inning.

“We’re going to start to simulate stuff like that, especially with guys trying to make our team,” Hinch said. “Shreve’s job would be exactly what it was today if he makes our team. Same for Englert.”

Shreve struck out Tapia and Englert, after allowing a single and a walk (not getting a borderline call on 3-2), got Daniel Palka to hit into a double play.

Englert did get touched up for two runs sixth.

Twitter: @cmccosky

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