MILWAUKEE – Brewers shortstop and two-time club MVP Willy Adames was hit on the left side of the head by a foul ball while leaning on the dugout rail during the second inning of Friday’s Giants-Brewers game at American Family Field and went to the hospital as his stunned teammates struggled through the remainder of a 15-1 loss.
Adames was alert and responsive for the rest of the evening and would spend the night in the hospital for observation, said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who indicated Adames suffered no fractures. The Brewers expect Adames to be released from the hospital Saturday morning and will place him on the injured list, Counsell said.
“We all love him,” said Freddy Peralta, Adames’ neighbor in the Brewers’ clubhouse, and the Brewers’ starting pitcher on Friday night. ‘We’ve known each other for years. We’ve been together for seven, eight years, friends together, good friends together. It’s hard to see someone you love at that moment.”
Counsell said, “It just wasn’t a good night.”
Brian Anderson led for the Brewers from the bottom of the second inning when he hit a pitch error, 90 mph off the bat according to Statcast, which appeared to hit Adames on the left side of the head. Adames retreated down the excavated stairway to the bench and leaned against Walker McKinven, Brewer’s assistant pitching, catcher and strategy coach, while medical officials attended to him and Brewer’s teammates formed a wall around the scene.
After a tense few minutes, Adames got up and walked through the tunnel to the clubhouse. Anderson ended his at bat with tears in his eyes, grounding out to shortstop before speeding into the tunnel himself to check on his teammate.
“I heard it and I knew it hit someone,” Counsell said. “I didn’t know who it hit, but I knew it hit someone. Willy didn’t react all that much at first, to be honest. He just sat down. Then you realized what had happened, and then it was really scary.
For Anderson, Counsell said, “You feel awful. It’s just an accident. It’s a bad accident. It’s bad luck. Unfortunately it is one of your teammates. Sometimes bad things happen in the game. It was not fun to be a part of it.”
Giants starter Alex Wood compared the sound to a batter being hit by a pitch right in the back, “one of the louder hit-by-pitches you see or hear.” He called it “scary stuff.”
“In real time, I thought he could sort of avoid it or turn his head and put his hand up,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler. “Obviously it was also a very scary moment for the Brewers and our dugout. You never want a man to be endangered like that.
The game immediately came away from the Brewers and Peralta, who committed one of the team’s two errors during what became a seven-run Giants rally. It began with a fielding error by second baseman Owen Miller, continued with Peralta’s throwing error on a comebacker, and included a runscoring infield single that ricocheted off first baseman Mike Brosseau’s glove before Giants second baseman Brett Wisely hit a three-run home run that it made it a 10-1 game and marked the end of Peralta’s night.
Adames and Peralta have lockers next to each other in the Brewers clubhouse and are best friends with injured infielder Luis Urías. Peralta said he planned to visit Adames in the hospital later Friday night.
About going back to the mound in the top of the third inning, Peralta said, “It was really hard for me because of certain feelings in me and everything. I knew I had a game and had to get back to the mound, but I had it in my head.”
“It definitely affected everyone,” Counsell said. “Certainly Freddy, as the guy who has to go there and pitch, and as close as they are, as much as anybody.”
Last week marked Adames’ two-year anniversary with the Brewers, who traded him to the Rays on May 21, 2021 when Milwaukee was two games under .500 and in need of a boost. Adames has been the Brewers’ most prolific hitter ever since, winning club MVP honors in ’21 and ’22 and leading the team in home runs, RBIs, hits, doubles, walks, runs, and games played — including all 51 games to date in 2023.
“I’ve always said it: Willy is the catalyst for this team,” said Brosseau, who was Adames’ teammate for the past five seasons with the Rays and Brewers. “What he’s brought to this team, what he means to this team, to see him go down like this and really nobody understands the seriousness of it, it’s pretty scary, pretty frightening.”