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Umpire Joe West briefly exits Jays-Nats game after taking flying bat to head

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Umpire Joe West briefly exits Jays-Nats game after taking flying bat to head
MLB home plate umpire Joe West is looked at by medical personnel after he was hit by a bat during the first inning of Thursday's game between the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- MLB home plate umpire Joe West temporarily left Thursday's game between the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays after being hit in the head by Bo Bichette's flying bat in the bottom of the first inning.

The 67-year-old West, who is the senior umpire in the league, was struck near his left ear when Bichette -- the Blue Jays' lead-off hitter -- lost his bat on his follow-through. Bichette's bat made contact with West, causing him to bleed on the side of his head.

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Nationals trainer Paul Lessard came out of the dugout to check on West and gave him a towel to press against his head. Lessard then walked off the field with West, guiding him to a ramp that leads to the clubhouses and umpires' room at Nationals Park.

The incident delayed the game for about six minutes. When play resumed, Vic Carapazza moved from second base to behind home plate, and the game continued with only three umpires.

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However, West returned to the field in the top of the third inning. He was stationed at third base, while Carapazza stayed behind the plate.

Bichette, who missed the Blue Jays' previous three games because of a tight left hamstring, doubled on Nationals starter Erick Fedde's next pitch and came around to score on a single from Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

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The Nationals held a 5-3 lead over the Blue Jays after the seventh inning.

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