The big reason that the U.S. Oympic team is not at prospect laden as many would have hoped is because teams were worried about injuries. They may have had a point, as the Indians can’t be thrilled with what happened today in Beijing as the U.S. faced China.
Matt LaPorta was knocked out of today’s game when he took a fastball to the batting helmet. LaPorta was on the ground for a moment, although he did get up and walk back to the dugout under his own power. Team USA replaced him with Dexter Fowler, and with the game still going on, there’s no further word yet on LaPorta’s prognosis.
LaPorta was the fifth U.S. batter to be beaned by China. Acting manager Steve Ontiveros and pitcher Jun-Yi Chen were both ejected. LaPorta’s beaning came after the Chinese were incensed when Nate Schierholtz barrelled over China’s catcher Yang Yang. China’s starting catcher Wang Wei (Mariners) had been knocked out of the game in an earlier collision at the plate with LaPorta.
LaPorta’s injury is the second significant one for Team USA during the Olympics. Jayson Nix had to have surgery to repair a gash in his eyebrow after he took a foul ball off the face against Cuba. He’s out for the rest of the Olympics, but there’s no word of whether he will be healthy enough for return to action this year–he was a candidate for a call-up to the big leagues after rosters expanded to 40 on Sept. 1.
If LaPorta isn’t able to play again during the Olympics it would also be a crushing blow for the U.S. medal hopes. With Nix already out, the U.S. would be down to one reserve position player–Lou Marson and Taylor Teagarden are splitting the catching duties.