ATLANTA -- At least Josh Thole could joke. A few hours after a foul ball ricocheted into Turner Field's visitors' dugout and off his right ear, Thole could not even feign surprise that, in a year that also saw him sustain a concussion, he was the one to be hit.
"I expect nothing less," Thole said.
Thole was in the dugout in the fourth inning Sunday when Kris Medlen sliced a foul ball directly toward him. Standing in front of Thole, coach Wally Backman ducked, leaving the catcher exposed.
"It just happened so fast," Thole said.
The ball clipped Thole toward the back of his ear, which the catcher believes may have saved him. A Braves doctor examined him and concluded that Thole had not sustained another concussion. The only lasting effect was a badly swollen ear.
Said Thole: "It could definitely have been way worse."