MLB umpire Junior Valentine was rocked in the face by a wayward throw Monday night ... and the ball hit him so hard, he crumpled to the ground in pain and began bleeding from his cheek.
The bizarre scene all went down in the Cardinals' game against the Mets in New York ... right after Kevin Pillar hit a ground ball to St. Louis infielder Edmundo Sosa.
As the shortstop ranged to his left and spun to try to throw out Pillar ... the ball got away from his intended target -- and ended up smacking Valentine in the face.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before. Edmundo Sosa threw wildly and hit umpire Junior Valentine square in the face 😂 #STLFLY #LGM pic.twitter.com/HDcb6c9BkO— Tyler Gallo (@TylerAGallo) September 13, 2021
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before. Edmundo Sosa threw wildly and hit umpire Junior Valentine square in the face 😂 #STLFLY #LGM pic.twitter.com/HDcb6c9BkO
You can see in the footage of the play ... Valentine was visibly shaken up -- and needed to be tended to by trainers.
Somehow, though, the dude wiped away the blood and stayed in the game.
Afterward, Valentine's crew chief, Jerry Meals, said in a statement Valentine was doing fine despite the scary scene.
"He's been checked out and has no broken bones," Meals said. "He was incredibly alert from the get-go. The blood seemed to stop fairly quickly, thankfully, and he was adamant that he was fine."
Cardinals star pitcher Adam Wainwright, who was on the mound during the play, added, "I felt really bad for him. What a stud to stay in the game."