The 2022 Washington Nationals have had plenty of painful moments this season, but Keibert Ruiz might have just topped them all.
The Nationals catcher exited a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday after taking a foul ball to his groin, with resulting issues landing him in the hospital and potentially ending his season.
The fateful impact occurred during the second inning, when Cardinals rookie Ben DeLuzio took a swing at an 86 mph slider from Nationals starting pitcher Josiah Gray. DeLuzio's bat grazed the ball enough to send it downward, right into Ruiz's most sensitive area. Ruiz needed a moment to catch his breath before returning behind the plate, but he apparently still had issues. He exited the game in the sixth inning, replaced by backup catcher Riley Adams.
You can see video of the pitch here.
It remains unclear if Ruiz had been wearing a protective cup, or what went wrong if he was.
Keibert Ruiz hits 10-day injured list, likely out for season
The news got worse for Ruiz on Friday, as the Nationals announced they were placing him on the 10-day injured list with what they called a "testicular contusion." Later, Martinez said Ruiz would be shut down for at least three weeks, which will likely end Ruiz's season. The Nationals' season is scheduled to end on Oct. 5, a little under four weeks from now.
Ruiz is among the young Nationals the club hopes to lead them back to contention in its post-Juan Soto era, having been acquired alongside Gray in the Max Scherzer-Trea Turner trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last offseason that cemented the team's rebuild.
So far, Ruiz has been promising but not stellar. He was hitting .251/.313/.360 with seven homers in 433 plate appearances as of Thursday, making him one of the more valuable Nationals remaining on the team. And now, his season is likely over.