Snell was on the way to his third consecutive victory for the Mariners when he was nearly knocked out of the game against the Royals in the fifth inning. Leadoff hitter Mitch Maier hit a line drive up the middle and Snell's first reaction was to put up his right arm to protect himself.
The ball slammed against his arm, hitting the bone at the top of his right wrist, and caromed to first baseman Jack Hannahan. It took awhile for the feeling to come back, but it did after a few minutes, Snell shook it off, completed the inning and was the winning pitcher.
Snell has not seen replays of the play, but said he has received numerous text messages.
"My sister is constantly texting me, reminding me that I am a magnet for line drives," he said. "She has seen plenty of them throughout my career."
One that he remembers best came off the bat of Ken Griffey Jr.
"Griffey hit me in the shin after he bunted the first at-bat," he said. "He always reminds me of that. I remind him that he's 5-for-50 against me."
Junior actually is 6-for-16 in his career against Snell with one home run.
Snell was in a good mood, for sure, on the day after.
"He was real lucky," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "You look at some of the balls that have hit pitchers this year and a couple of them have been hospitalized."
Most recently, Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda was hit in the head by a line drive on August 15 and was hospitalized overnight. On April 9, Giants pitcher Joe Martinez suffered a concussion and three hairline fractures on the right side of his head.
Snell was removed from the game after the fifth inning and had X-rays taken. They were negative.
"There's some redness and some seam marks where the ball hit him, but he feels fine and I think he'll be fine for his next start," Wakamatsu said. "I'll tell you what, as soon as it happens, you just cringe. I thought for sure it got his hand and broke something, so we're awfully lucky."
The 29-year-old has turned his season around with the Mariners. He had a 2-9 record for the Pirates and things got so bad he asked to be sent to the Minor Leagues.
He was traded to Seattle, along with shortstop Jack Wilson, on July 29. He pitched well against the Rangers in his Mariners debut on the road, but struggled in back-to-back games at Safeco Field.
But the bullpen work he has been doing with pitching coach Rick Adair and bullpen coach John Wetteland has paid off and he's been pitching significantly better the past three outings, surrendering four earned runs in 16 2/3 innings.