Players usually give their all in every game they play. But when a game is in extra innings, they add a little extra oomph to get the job done. And sometimes that extra oomph results in two players knocking into each other at full force. On Tuesday night, those two players were Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson, outfielders for the Los Angeles Dodgers who were giving their all in an extra-innings game.
The Dodgers were tied 1-1 with the St. Louis Cardinals, and the game was in the top of the tenth inning. With two outs, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina came to the place and smacked a long fly ball to center field, and Yasiel Puig started running in from right field to catch it. But at the same time, Joc Pederson was running in from center to do the same thing.
As they were coming toward each other, all you could do is hope that these two giant humans, moving at top speed with the same goal, would miss each other. But as the ball fell into Puig’s glove, the two violently crashed into each other. Pederson was splayed out on the ground, and Puig was on his knees leaning forward, holding his chest. But he held onto the ball, which was an incredible feat.
It was a hard, awkward collision. They were both running with their arms out to catch the ball, and Pederson’s right arm and shoulder thwumped right into Puig’s chest. Puig’s left arm essentially clotheslined Pederson, while Puig’s elbow rammed into Pederson’s head, almost like he was trying to insert it into his ear canal.
Pederson had blood on his forehead, and both were tended to by Dodgers training staff before leaving the field. Pederson ended up leaving the game while Puig stayed in, and Pederson was diagnosed with a strained neck. He passed the concussion protocol and won’t go on the disabled list, but manager Dave Roberts noted it was a pretty intense collision.
Dave Roberts on Joc Pederson: “Like he got into a car accident.” Cuts on forehead, took Puig’s forearm to face, hit head against wall
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 24, 2017
Yikes. Considering that Puig is a mountain of a man, it’s amazing that Pederson didn’t just disintegrate on impact.
While Pederson does not appear to be seriously injured, he’ll still need at least a day to recover. The outfielder was not listed in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game. He’ll be replaced in center by Chris Taylor. Puig will get the start in right and bat eighth.
Despite that, Pederson said his neck feels much better Wednesday. He even took the opportunity to take a shot at Puig when discussing the injury.
Joc Pederson on the collision: “Puig was really soft. The wall was really hard.” He said his neck feels better today.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) May 24, 2017
The catch — and Pederson’s effort — did make a difference. It ended the inning, and the Dodgers ended up winning 2-1 in 13. Hopefully Pederson’s strained neck won’t keep him out for too long. And hopefully Puig doesn’t try that clothesline move on anyone else, because yowza.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – –