Hit-by-pitch strikes close to home for some former baseball players

MILWUKEE (WITI) -- It was one of the scariest things to ever happen on the field at Miller Park. Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton gets hit in the face by a pitch Thursday night, causing multiple face fractures.

It brought back memories to Chris Barker at Hitters Baseball Academy in Caledonia. He was hurt by an errant throw while coaching at Delaware State.

"I was right down the line and we had a kid who actually threw 97 miles per hour and he overthrew the first baseman and hit me right in the eye and I lost vision in my eye for three hours so I understand, it's a scary experience," said Barker.

Former Brewer Bob Deer now hosts baseball camps in the Milwaukee area. From his Arizona home, the retired baseball star recalls one of the times he was injured by a pitch.

"Jeff Reardon got me on a 2-2 pitch, hit me and broke my wrist and it was the same situation; it looked like a check swing and the umpire called me fore strike three. So I had strike three and a broken wrist," said Deer.

Both Deer and Barker say Stanton should eventually be able to get comfortable again in the batter's box, it'll just take time.

"For me, it was one of those things, even throwing batting practice, you get a ball hit back at you at the L-screen, it's a little scary 'cause it's that moment of getting hit in the face," said Barker.

"It was like riding a bicycle; I didn't even think about a pitch coming up and in, I just wanted to get back in the line-up," Deer said.

The first step though, is getting healthy. Friday morning, Stanton tweeted, "The amount of support I've received from you guys has been tremendous...i'm much better today and deeply appreciate your prayers."

Rob Deer says at his camp, they'll actually throw balls up and in so hitters can practice ducking away from the pitch. He also adds, there's so little time to react that even the best big league hitters just can't get out of the way sometimes.

The Brewers continue their playoff pursuit on Friday, September 12th when they open a weekend series with Cincinnati.