Giants pitcher Sean Hjelle has bounced back and forth between San Francisco and Triple-A Sacramento throughout the 2023 season, in part because of his command and control.
In the seventh inning of the Giants' 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday at Oracle Park, a sinker got away from Hjelle and hit Miguel Rojas on his left hand, near the knob of the bat.
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Rojas, the Dodgers' starting shortstop, exited the game and underwent X-rays, which were negative. He's not playing in Saturday's game as a precaution.
Immediately after Friday's game, SportsNet LA's Jerry Hairston Jr. and Orel Hershiser didn't hold back on the Giants, what transpired on the field, and what would have happened during their playing days.
"I am old. I get it. I'm washed up," Hairston Jr. said. "Ten years ago, somebody on the other side would have been dotted up because we have yet to hear about Miggy Ro. We don't know if he's OK. He may have a fracture. Or even if he doesn't have a fracture, he could have a deep bone bruise that could bother him the rest of the way. I remember somebody 10 years ago got hit in the ribs, by the name of Hanley Ramirez. He was our best player and it affected our team.
"So again, you have to protect your players when you have an opportunity. I'm not saying you have to do it tonight. I'm not saying you have to do it tomorrow. Not even this series. But doggonit, you've got to protect your guys. Miggy Ro is our starting shortstop and those are small bones. What they are doing over there in San Francisco, that's an absolute joke."
San Francisco Giants
Rojas spoke to reporters after Friday's game and said he feels OK, though the Dodgers were going to send him for a CT scan Saturday to be sure there's no structural damage as they get ready to begin the MLB playoffs.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn't seem upset at all about Hjelle hitting Rojas when he spoke to reporters shortly after Friday's game, but Hershiser wasn't happy.
"[There] used to be purpose pitches and there were also purpose pitches to pay back, and the payback was not always for a purpose pitch," Hershiser said. "Sometimes if you just made a mistake and if they say that was a mistake and I get it. But still, that's a problem. You've got a playoff team that has a chance to win the World Series.
"You've got a starting shortstop who has been swinging the bat great for the last two months. He is a vacuum cleaner at shortstop. You have some respect for the team that beat you soundly through the year. And then you watch out. You never come close to somebody like that."
Hjelle, for all the struggles he has had this season, pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief Friday night to lower his MLB ERA to 6.52. He didn't allow any hits and didn't walk any batters while striking out four.
The Dodgers didn't retaliate Friday night, and based on how Rojas and Roberts reacted after the game, it seems unlikely they will do so in either of the final two regular-season games this weekend.
That might not sit well with Hairston Jr. and Hershiser.