Ouch! Mets set MLB record with 106 hit batters in season

MILWAUKEE—The New York Mets set a major league record with 106 hit batters this season when Mark Canha was plunked twice and Luis Guillorme once in Wednesday’s 6-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

New York has been hit one more time than the 2021 Cincinnati Reds.

“It’s like a broken record at this point,” Canha said. “We just kind of roll our eyes when it happens now and move on. There’s nothing you can do except capitalize on it, make it hurt, and it’s all you can do. Yeah, sure, we’re frustrated. It’s like not a great thing to happen to your team.”

Mets manager Buck Showalter has repeatedly complained about the amount of times his players have been hit. He signaled for the ball after Guillorme was struck on the left foot by Jake Cousins’ slider in the ninth.

Asked what he planned to do with the ball, Showalter quipped, “it would be obscene to tell you” before adding: “I gave it to the hitting coaches. They can do with it what they want to.”

The Mets were banged up in other ways Wednesday, too. Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo hurt his left quadriceps while stealing second base and left after the first inning. Left fielder Jeff McNeil banged up his right wrist against the chain-link fence in a failed attempt to catch Brosseau’s drive.

Canha was hit near the hip in the third and the ribs in the fifth. He has been hit a big league-high 24 times this year and tied Seattle’s Ty France for last year’s high with 27.

“I’m closer to the plate and I don’t move,” Canha said. “We have a lot of good hitters, dangerous hitters, and you have to pitch good hitters in, and we tend to get hit a lot.”

A record 2,112 baters were hit last year, topping the 1,984 in 2019. Batters were hit 1,875 times entering Wednesday with two weeks remaining.

“Teams are having to try and figure out ways to get us out, and I guess that’s part of the way, trying to pitching inside,” Nimmo said, “and so you’re going to get hit when that happens.”

Cincinnati pitchers have set a record with 99 hit batters this year, one more than last year’s Chicago Cubs.

Veteran Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt, meanwhile, will retire after 10 major league seasons and a long, patient road to break into the big leagues at age 27.

Not to mention a nearly 15-month wait to finally get his first hit.

Vogt endured an 0-for-32 hitless streak to start his career that began in Tampa Bay and ended in San Francisco’s East Bay.

“It was like a year-and-a-half wait in between my first at-bat and when I got the first hit,” said Vogt, who shared his future plans with The Associated Press. “I couldn’t believe it had happened. It had been 32 at-bats and I was in my 33rd at-bat, got a pitch to hit and fortunately I got my first hit.”

It came at last on June 28, 2013, a line-drive homer off Cardinals reliever Joe Kelly to end the longest hitless streak to begin a career by a non-pitcher since Chris Carter began 0-for-33 with the A’s in 2010.

Even after all that, Vogt eventually turned into a two-time All-Star and earned his own signature chant of “I believe in Stephen Vogt!” from fans who appreciated his path and struggles.

The 37-year-old journeyman played for Tampa Bay, Oakland, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Arizona and Atlanta, joining the A’s for a second stint this year. He will be honored at Oakland’s final game of the season, at home October 5 against the Angels.

“Vogter is one of the most inspiring players I’ve ever managed,” said former A’s manager Bob Melvin, now skipper in San Diego. “What he means to a clubhouse is immeasurable—two-time All-Star, beloved in Oakland. One of my all-time favorites. Definitely has a future in managing.”

Vogt showed little emotion as he ran the bases for his first hit that day, aside from high-fiving third base coach Mike Gallego while rounding for home. Vogt’s father, Randy, had taught him humility and to pick his moments.

In fact, Vogt remembers only three times that he visibly celebrated a big hit with a triumphant fist pump or arm raised to the sky, and he asks his own children not to flip their bats.

He did show some joy after a three-run triple in Thursday’s 9-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners, patting his chest and pointing to the dugout.

“I remember I was a big Barry Bonds fan and I said, ‘Dad, why does Barry Bonds stand at home plate and watch?’ It was his famous spin the circle one when I was a kid,” Vogt recalled. “He said, ‘Stephen, when you have 500 home runs in the major leagues you can do whatever you want. Until then, you put your bat down and you run around the bases.’”

One of those times Vogt made an exception came a few months after his first hit, in October 2013. He produced his first career game-winning hit with a single off Justin Verlander in the playoffs for a 1-0 win against the Tigers that sent the best-of-five AL Division Series back to Detroit tied at 1.

After striking out twice against Verlander, Vogt fouled off seven pitches in a 10-pitch at-bat that ended the seventh with his third K. Vogt’s next time up, he lined a bases-loaded single into left-center that won the game.

“For me, what it’s been about is persevering through adversity and persevering through being the guy that everyone always said, ‘Yeah, he could be good, but,’” Vogt said. “…If one person says, ‘Hey, if he can do it, I can do it,’ then that’s all that matters.”

He had left the Rays organization for the A’s on April 5 that ‘13 season, traded back home to his native California and only a few hours from where he grew up in Visalia. Then Oakland designated the fan favorite for assignment in June 2017.

A major shoulder injury in May 2018 while rehabbing with Milwaukee cost Vogt that year and threatened his career, but he endured surgery and a long rehab to land with the Giants in ‘19. AP

Image credits: AP