PORT CHARLOTTE -- Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison was forced to depart Toronto's 7-3 win over the Rays on Sunday after he was struck in the head by a throw to second base, but he appears to have avoided a serious injury.
Hutchison was hit on the back of the head during the fifth inning when catcher A.J. Jimenez attempted to throw out a baserunner. Hutchison crouched down and instinctively turned his head toward the base to watch what he assumed would be a play at second, but instead the ball hit the back of his head.
The 25-year-old stood up a split second after the ball hit him, but the Blue Jays' training staff ran onto the field and decided to take Hutchison out of the game for precautionary reasons.
"It was just one of those things, weird," said Hutchison, who was in good spirits and joking about the incident with reporters. "You just have to laugh at it. I was perfectly fine. [It's] Spring Training, any other time I probably would have argued and tried to stay in there. But we'll see how it feels tomorrow."
Hutchison walked off the field under his own power and was greeted with high fives in the dugout as everything appeared relatively normal. He also had to answer a number of questions from the training staff, but there does not appear to be any lingering effects from an otherwise scary situation.
The incident brought an end to Hutchison's final bid for the starting rotation. He allowed one run on one hit and issued three walks while striking out three over four-plus innings of work. Hutchison is technically competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, but he appears to be behind Aaron Sanchez and Gavin Floyd on the depth chart.
"I had a good changeup today, they came out swinging and were really aggressive, and I was aggressive with the fastball," Hutchison said. "Then second time through, I threw some really good changeups, got a double play on one. I had a good sinker today, I thought I was throwing well, had good movement and unfortunately came in a little quicker today."
As for the injury itself, Hutchison was quick to deflect any blame from Jimenez and instead blamed himself in a self-deprecating way.
"That's what you get for being dumb and walking the leadoff guy," Hutchison said. "I thought I was throwing the ball well and unfortunately something weird happened."