SAN DIEGO -- It was natural for people to wonder how exactly D-backs catcher Chris Iannetta would react the first time he stepped back in the batter's box after being hit in the face by a 93 mph fastball on May 12.
Iannetta gave a pretty clear answer Sunday afternoon when he hit the first pitch he saw since the beaning over the wall in right-center for a solo homer in the D-backs' 5-1 loss to the Padres at Petco Park.
"I couldn't be more happy for him," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "I know that it's been a tough little journey for him to walk through all this frustration getting hit by the pitch, but he is such a professional, there's such mental toughness, and for him to get up there and execute the way he did really shows his character, and that's what we love about him."
Iannetta's homer was the only real offense the D-backs could muster against Clayton Richard, who tossed a complete game.
"He did a really good job," Iannetta said. "He had a really good sinker using both sides of the plate, keeping the ball down."
Iannetta split his lip wide open and had damage to some teeth when he was hit by the pitch. While he did not show signs of a concussion he was placed on the concussion list as a precaution.
When he stepped in against Richard in the third inning he did not flinch.
"I mean you just trust your instincts," he said. "We've been doing it for a really long time and you obviously never know until you get in the box, but as soon as he was going through his windup I had no thoughts of anything but the baseball. So, it was good."
What's not so good is that Iannetta will have to get up early Monday morning and head to the dentist where the repair work will begin on his teeth.
Luckily for him, the damage was not as bad as he initially feared. Lovullo said that when he got to home plate that night Iannetta told him he had lost some teeth and Lovullo was looking around the home-plate area trying to find them.
"It was just a bunch of little chips off the bottom," Iannetta said. "When I felt them with my tongue it felt way worse than it actually looked like when I saw them. Lot of jagged edges and chips, but it felt like they were chopped in half."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.