Reds rookie somehow remains in game after taking fastball to the head in scary moment

This could have been really bad.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Blake Dunn
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Blake Dunn / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds are no strangers to being hit-by-pitch this season. Cincinnati ranks fourth in Major League Baseball this season, having been hit-by-pitch 38 times so far in 2024. On the flip side, the Reds also lead the league in hit batsmen. Reds' pitchers have been rather erroneous with their pitches on occasion and have plunked the opposition 43 times this season.

Reds starter Hunter Greene actually leads the league with nine hit batsmen in 2024, while TJ Friedl — who's only played in 18 games this season — owns the team-lead in bruises with five.

But on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park, it was rookie outfielder Blake Dunn who took a wicked shot off the helmet courtesy of a 101.4 mph fastball out of the hand of Cleveland Guardians' closer Emmanuel Clase.

Reds rookie Blake Dunn somehow remains in game after taking fastball to the head

With a runner on first base and the Reds trailing 5-3 in the ninth inning with two outs, Clase delivered a 2-2 pitch that ran up and in and struck Dunn square in the helmet. Dunn hit the deck, but bounced back to his feet rather quickly, then calmly walked down toward first base.

Dunn took a longer-than-average glance at Clase, but cooler heads prevailed and there was no extra-circular activity after the incident. Obviously, Clase was not purposely trying to hit Dunn with the pitch, much less strike him in the head.

The Reds training staff escorted Dunn down the line to first base, and asked him a series of questions. Reds manager David Bell also walked onto the field to check the status of his rookie. Surprisingly, Dunn remained in the game.

Dunn spoke to the media afterwards and cited several times when he'd suffered hits to the head during his time as a football player. Dunn was a multi-sport athlete in high school before focusing on baseball during his time at Western Michigan University. Dunn revealed that his helmet cracked as a result of the heater off his head.

Head injuries have taken center-stage in sports over the past decade, and teams have taken several precautions as a result. MLB has even instituted a seven-day injured list for those players who may be exhibiting concussion symptoms. But Dunn seemed no worse for wear following the incident during Tuesday night's game.

With right-hander Tanner Bibee on the hill for the Guardians on Wednesday, it's unlikely that the right-handed hitting Dunn will be in the starting lineup. But if Cleveland brings in a left-hander at some point during the game, Dunn would likely be available to pinch hit.

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