Broxton ready to go after being struck in face

Broxton ready to go after being struck in face

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton said he woke up on Friday feeling great, a positive development considering he was a day removed from being hit in the face by a fastball. It was clear to Broxton relatively quickly that he would be available to play in the series opener against the Cubs.

Then, he looked in the mirror.

"It feels a lot better than it looks, that's for sure," said Broxton, who had a shiner under both eyes and swelling on the right side of his face. "It is amazing that there's no pain. It is just a little swollen and black and blue. My vision is good. No headaches, nothing. I feel fine.

"I'm just blessed, man. I'm blessed to even come back and take swings in the cage and to be able to look around and do everything. I'm just blessed, honestly."

Broxton entered in the 10th inning during a double switch as the Brewers earned a 2-1 win in 11 innings.

"I'm not scared to go back in there," Broxton said before the game. "I don't care. It was just an accident. I'm ready, man."

"I expected him to say that, really," manager Craig Counsell said. "What we were concerned about, really, is the swelling. What would the swelling be? I knew he was going to want to play. Just to be in that conversation is a great thing. He's fortunate, we're fortunate. We get to move forward from it."

Broxton was spared a more serious injury by his batting helmet, which includes a "C-flap" that extends over his left jaw. The second-inning pitch from Rockies rookie Antony Senzatela deflected off the brim of Broxton's helmet and that flap before contacting Broxton's face, instead of directly impacting his eye socket.

Broxton said he received text messages and calls on Friday from former Pirates teammates and other acquaintances, some of whom mentioned his helmet. He hopes more ballplayers try hitting with protective flaps.

"There are already more people wearing it this year than last year, so I'm sure it will continue to grow," Broxton said.

When he looked in the mirror on Friday morning, Broxton said his first thought was, "Oh my gosh." His teammates provided some good-natured ribbing about his appearance on Friday.

"It is nice to be able to joke around about this, because if I didn't have that flap it would have been a lot more serious than it is," Broxton said. "I'm just blessed to be able to show up today and joke around about my face."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.