A very scary moment happened during Sunday’s game between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs as veteran catcher Austin Nola was carted off the field after getting hit in the face by a pitch.
In the fourth inning, Cubs right-handed reliever Michael Fulmer lost control of a fastball that hit Nola in the face, sending the right-handed hitter to the ground after his helmet flew off with the impact of the pitch. The Padres training staff along with manager Bob Melvin rushed out to attend to Nola, who was eventually escorted off the field on a golf cart.
Austin Nola has exited the game after being hit in the face by a Michael Fulmer fastball pic.twitter.com/WV3RitO8mf— Talking Friars (@TalkingFriars) March 19, 2023
The Padres catcher was hit on the nose and as expected was bleeding a lot.
Although the team hasn’t officially updated Nola’s status, San Diego’s manager believes Nola’s nose was indeed broken.
Via the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I can’t imagine it’s not broken,” Melvin said of Nola’s nose. “Last I heard they were trying to stop the bleeding. He was doing OK, but like I said I can’t imagine it’s not broken when it hit him square in the nose.”
Nola, 33, started behind the plate in all 12 postseason games for the Padres in 2022, catching every single inning for San Diego’s pitching staff. His absence would be a huge hit for the Padres, who have division-winning aspirations in 2023.
The only other catchers on San Diego’s 40-man roster are Luis Campusano, who at 24-years-old has 153 career innings behind the plate in the majors, while 29-year-old Brett Sullivan still has not made his MLB debut.
In the offseason, the Padres did add Pedro Severino, signing him to a minor league deal.
The Padres have already suffered a few significant injuries in spring training that will affect them early on in the season. Starting pitcher Joe Musgrove is going to miss a few starts after fracturing a toe while working out. Left-handed pitcher Adrian Morejon may begin the season on the injured list because of elbow inflammation and in addition to Nola’s possible broken nose on Sunday, Juan Soto is now dealing with what’s being reported as a mild oblique strain.
Cubs fans know how tricky oblique injuries can be and how a team is cautious with a player dealing with that strain, as Seiya Suzuki was diagnosed with a moderate oblique strain a few days into spring training and is expected to begin the season on the injured list.
It would not be surprising to see the Padres place Soto on the injured list to begin the season, giving him some additional time to fully recover from the oblique strain.