TORONTO -- Blue Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton suffered bruised forearms Thursday night after being struck by a piece of a broken bat in the first inning of Toronto's 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Edwin Encarnacion's bat shattered on his groundout but the barrel flew up in the air and landed in the Toronto dugout. Walton was able to get his arms up in time to protect himself.
He was treated on the bench before leaving the dugout area for precautionary X-rays.
"In this case while he's sore and there's definite bone bruises that are there, it could have been a whole lot worse," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
Walton was not available for comment after the game. Bullpen coach Pete Walker replaced him on Toronto's bench.
Farrell said that maple bats often create dangerous situations when they break.
"It's repeatedly every night we see a bat fly through the air and hopefully no-one gets injured by it but you'd think that Major League Baseball would do something about it," he said. "Because it's to the point now where you've got shrapnel flying everywhere and it's a pointed object that's got some weight and some velocity to it as it's flying through the air.
"It's a dangerous situation and fortunately he was able to get his arms up in front of his face and that's where it was headed -- right into his head."
Walton was seated near the end of the bench closest to home plate. It's a busy spot with players often walking in the area to pick up bats from the rack at the end of the dugout.
Baseball bats have traditionally been made from ash trees, but maple bats have become quite popular in recent years.
An MLB committee found in 2008 that maple bats were three times as likely to break in multiple places as ash bats.