Max Muncy cites Dodgers' new center-field backdrop for HBP injury: 'I couldn't really see the ball'

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Thursday, July 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- Max Muncy didn't react quickly enough to a pitch running in on him during Sunday's scrimmage from Dodger Stadium and suffered an injury because of it.

"I couldn't really see the ball," Muncy said. "I'm trying to adjust to some of the changes out there. It came up and in on me and hit me in the finger."

The reason: A center-field batter's eye, the visual backdrop for batters, that has evolved over the course of a $100 million renovation and has seemingly made it more difficult for Los Angeles Dodgers hitters to pick up the baseball.

The videographers' well now stretches wider. A pedestrian area that is part of a new center-field plaza brought the black wall down lower. And the section of neighboring seats that used to be tarped off is now only partially painted black, which might make it especially difficult to pick up the baseball when facing side-arm throwers.

Muncy's injury -- to the ring finger of his left hand, which was wrapped during Wednesday's availability -- is not considered serious or expected to jeopardize his availability for the season opener July 23. But the new look could create an ongoing problem for Dodgers hitters if left unaddressed.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called it "unsettling" that Muncy couldn't pick up the baseball in time to dodge it, but he said the organization is open to making adjustments to appease its players.

"It's different than what we've had here," Muncy said. "I guess that's just something we have to get used to. I will say I know pitchers are pretty happy about the batter's eye."

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