Notes: Painful day for Piazza, Merloni
Blanton seeking curveball; Schaefer reconnects with Royals
PHOENIX -- Ouch. Double ouch.Mike Piazza left the game after being hit by a Brian Bannister pitch on his left elbow in the third inning in the Athletics' 3-2 loss in 10 innings to the Royals on Tuesday. In the 10th inning, a Matt Wright pitch struck Lou Merloni on the head. A shaken-up Merloni was scheduled to see a doctor Tuesday night. "It doesn't feel too good right now," Piazza said. "It is sore. He got it pretty good. It was pretty flush." Piazza took a few steps toward first base after being hit, then stopped as the trainer rushed out to check him out. Javier Herrera ran for Piazza. "I can't even feel it," Piazza said. "There was a little delayed action. At first, I didn't think it got me that flush. It hurts. I iced it once and I'll probably ice it one more time and hopefully it will feel better. "I'm hoping it feels better [Wednesday], but it may feel worse. I can't even move it right now. It is frustrating. It is a setback. Hopefully in less than a week, it is feeling better and I'll be back in there. You're on a certain pace and you'd like to stay on that pace. Injuries like this are a big inconvenience as far as staying on pace." Piazza was not sent for an X-ray, but could be Wednesday, depending on how he feels. A's manager Bob Geren said Piazza was not scheduled to play Wednesday at the Cubs, where there is no DH. "We'll find out more in the morning for sure," Geren said. "I don't know if he was trying to come in off the plate," Piazza said of Bannister's pitch. "I'd like to believe it got away. I don't think I have a history with him." Well, actually he does. Bannister, who was drafted by the Mets, said he met Piazza in 2003. "He's one of my favorite players," Bannister said. Merloni went down in the batter's box after Wright's pitch struck him in the head. "It did get all helmet, not the face or anything," Geren said. "We're monitoring it." The A's have been hit by seven pitches in their first five games. "It just happens," Geren said. "Nobody likes to get hit, but everybody knows it is unintentional." Blanton performance: Joe Blanton figures his slider will be there in April, but he is not so sure about his curve. Blanton said he threw only one slider, but concentrated on his curveball in two innings against the Royals in his spring debut.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.