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David Price pats cup after getting drilled in nuts by Joe Mauer line drive (vid/GIF)

Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price pitched a gem of a game against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night, going the distance while striking out 12 in a 7-3 victory. But the hero of the night may have been Price’s protective cup, which certainly helped prevent egregious, sack-busting damage to Price’s gems so he could go out and pitch the aforementioned gem of a ballgame.

With Joe Mauer at the plate in the fourth inning, Price was drilled square in the groin by a line-drive off the bat of the Twins first baseman. Price dropped to his knees as the ball caromed off his crotch towards the third base line. Mauer eventually reached base on the crazy, crotchal ricochet as trainers and Rays manager Joe Maddon took a trip to the mound to check on the condition of the pitcher and his man parts.

“I guess it’s the best place to hit me,” Price said after the game, via the Tampa Bay Times. “I don’t know how I didn’t really feel it or it didn’t break my cup.”

Lucky man. As Price shook off the close call, he gratefully patted his protective cup in appreciation for its stellar work in saving him from harm.

Price acknowledged afterward that even though the ball struck him in the balls, he’s relieved Mauer’s line drive didn’t catch him higher up on his body.

“I’m extremely lucky,” Price said. “If that ball is 2 feet up it’s in my face or in my throat. It’s not good. So it’s probably one of the last places I wanted to get hit, but I was very fortunate for it to not hurt.”

Indeed. That cup has done Price — especially his hopes of ever procreating in the future, should that be something he wants — a tremendous service. Yowsers.

Mauer even joked about the close call following the loss.

“I’m glad he’s okay,” he said. “But he could have taken the rest of the night off if he needed.”

(videos via Michael Shamburger, GIF via The Big Lead)

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