Orioles' Jorge Mateo inadvertently hit in head with Cedric Mullins' bat in scary scene

Colorado Rockies v Baltimore Orioles
Colorado Rockies v Baltimore Orioles / G Fiume/GettyImages

In what was quite frankly a scary moment, the Orioles lost their starting second baseman to injury in a freak accident before play began in the bottom of the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cedric Mullins was set to lead off the bottom of the fourth, with Jorge Mateo due up after him. In a display of awful luck, Mullins struck Mateo in the back of the helmet while loosening up with his bat. Mateo was in obvious pain in the dugout, with his face buried in his hand.

There is legitimate concern that Mateo may have suffered a concussion from this act of friendly fire. As the Mayo Clinic notes, the symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not occur right away. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer.

Orioles lose red-hot Jorge Mateo to freak head injury after teammate Cedric Mullins struck him in the back of the head with his bat

In a dark twist of irony, former Orioles' second baseman Brian Roberts is in the broadcast booth for today's game. Roberts infamously suffered a concussion that, in many ways, led to the end of his career in 2010; he struck himself in the helmet with his bat to let out frustration after a strikeout.

If Mateo is forced to miss time, this would represent a big blow both to the Orioles and Mateo personally. Mateo has come into his own since the Orioles optioned Jackson Holliday at the end of April, displaying the impressive combination of speed, defense, and occasional power that had him ranked as one of the Yankees' top prospects a few years ago. The Orioles will likely run a battery of tests on Mateo to determine the nature and degree of any potential head injury. Even if no concussion is found, it would likely make sense for the Orioles to keep Mateo out of the lineup for Monday's opener in Toronto to ensure he fully recovers.

Ramon Urías pinch-hit for Mateo in the bottom of the fourth and struck out. Urias remained in the game at third base, with Jordan Westburg shifting from third base to second.