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USATSI

Home plate umpire Joe West temporarily left Thursday afternoon's Nationals-Blue Jays game (GameTracker) after he was inadvertently hit in the head with a bat. Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette lost his bat on his follow-through and it slammed West in the head. West was bleeding on the side of his head and left the game in the bottom of the first after Nationals athletic trainer Paul Lessard came out to evaluate him.

West returned to the field in the top of the third inning, however. West was stationed at third base, and umpire Vic Carapazza remained as the home plate umpire.

West was also hit in the head during a game in the 2017 season, when someone in the stands threw a ball at West when he was working as the first-base umpire during a Marlins-Brewers game.

Entering the 2020 season, West, 67, was 65 games short of breaking Bill Klem's record of 5,375 for the most regular-season games by an umpire. He wanted to work the 2020 season amid a pandemic, despite being considered a high-risk individual.

The Blue Jays were serving as the home team on Thursday at Nationals Park since their 2020 home ballpark in Buffalo is not yet MLB-ready. Toronto's weekend series in Philadelphia was postponed earlier on Thursday after two Phillies staffers -- a coach and a clubhouse worker -- tested positive for COVID-19.