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Home plate umpire forced to leave the game after being hit in the head by a pitch

A warm-up pitch from Boston’s Joe Kelly nailed Hunter Wendelstedt.

In a sequence that certainly does not happen very often in the majors, the home plate umpire in the Red Sox-Indians game was forced out of the action after being hit by an errant warm-up pitch.

While warming up for the bottom of the sixth inning, Joe Kelly accidentally nailed home plate ump Hunter Wendelstedt in the face mask. After shaking it off and convening with the other umpires and a trainer, Wendelstedt stayed in the game for the bottom of the inning.

Catcher Christian Vazquez seemed to get crossed up with the pitch, expecting something off-speed or low and therefore not reacting to get his glove up in time — he missed intercepting the ball by mere inches, if not less.

Despite seeming fine and continuing to work in the sixth, by the top of the seventh inning Wendelstedt decided to leave the game. That led to a lengthy delay while another ump suited up for home plate duty.

While it’s not entirely rare to see an umpire hit or nicked by a wild pitch, it is rare for an umpire to be forced from the game because of it.

Hopefully Wendelstedt left the field more as a precaution rather than a painful necessity and he recovers quickly. The game proceeded with three umpires covering all responsibilities.