ATLANTA -- You don't stick around as a Major League catcher for 12 years if you can't take the heat and the occasional hit and bounce back.
Braves catcher Gerald Laird took a couple of shots in the seventh inning on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field, but, said he's sufficiently ready to go in whatever capacity required in Friday's series opener with the Angels at Turner Field.
"I told [manager Fredi Gonzalez], I'm good to go. We'll see what happens," Laird said.
The 34-year-old catcher had to leave Thursday afternoon's 10-3 loss to the Rockies game after getting hit by the backswing of Colorado left fielder Corey Dickerson. The impact knocked off Laird's mask, and knocked him cold momentarily as the bat caught him in the jaw. He immediately left the game.
Laird called the incident an occupational hazard. He'd been nicked earlier in the at-bat by a foul tip.
"It's just one of those plays where I had to call a down-and-in slider to a lefty and I have to get down in there, and he took a swing and fouled it off, and kind of came back and hit me," Laird said. "I had a target on my head that one inning, but it's one of those things that when you become a catcher, it's the little things you sign up for. I'm glad I don't have to go on the DL and I'm good to go.
"There was just a little soreness in my joint but that's about it. I was a little bit dazed at first, but that was because of the two blows I took like three pitches before. About an hour after the game, I started feeling better, got on the plane and came back and I feel fine."
Gonzalez said team doctors will have the final say on Laird's availability on Friday, as they were to put him through another battery of tests. But the skipper shares Laird's feeling of relief that there would be no need for a stint on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
"I feel like we've dodged a bullet as far as concussion or anything like that," Gonzalez said. "He did well when I asked him on the field where he was. He said he knew where he was."
Adding insult to injury, Laird's season-high six-game hitting streak, during which he batted .391 (9-for-23), also came to an end on Thursday, as he went 0-for-2, with a walk.
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less