High and tight with nowhere to get out of the way, it hit him in exactly the wrong place.
"It was just one of those that squared me up right on the knuckle and my hand was still on the bat," Mitchell said. "I knew right away something was not right."
It turns out two things were not right. Two fractures on his right hand and as quickly as Mitchell was starting to get hot, he was sidelined indefinitely. He remained on the shelf for more than two months, day in and day out patiently waiting while he watched his teammates fight to the top of the IL North in July.
"Just not being able to be here and play out a whole season with a good bunch of guys [was tough]. You never want to be missing time during the season, that's what the offseason is for," Mitchell said.
It was just as tough for the IronPigs to be without Mitchell in the lineup as he was starting to really heat up. In the doubleheader the day before his injury, Mitchell tied a career high with four RBIs-not just once, but in each game. The second four RBI game came courtesy of a grand slam out of the stadium in left field.
He was hitting .304 with two homers and 13 runs batted in the fourteen games leading up to June 3.
Needless to say it was extra disappointing for him to not only have the injury, but to have it come when it did.
"When I found out for sure the next day it was broken in two different spots it was tough because I was just starting to feel comfortable," Mitchell said. "Everything was starting to fall into place a little bit and I was starting to have some really good at bats. But, its part of the game."
Injury certainly is part of the game, but that means so is recovery and return. And that is where Mitchell is now. After spending a month in a cast, a month rebuilding strength and seeing live pitching, Mitchell returned to the lineup on August 11.
Once he got the hard cast off, things began going fairly quickly for the 25 year-old outfielder.
"The first week or so was a lot of rehab a lot of wrist exercises to get the wrist going again, everything around the hand was weak so just some grip strengthening and stuff like that and once I could get a bat in my hand it started coming around pretty quick," Mitchell said.
When August rolled around, Mitchell disappeared from Lehigh Valley. Down to Florida he went to play for the GCL Phillies and work his way back to the Triple-A level. He started off with a bang, and surprisingly felt no ill effects that first game of having not seen game action in months.
"I was surprised because the first day I came back I was seeing the ball really well and I ended going 1-for-2 with a home run, Mitchell said. "They only let me have two at bats so I kind of surprised myself. It was on an inside pitch too so that was kind of where I was worried about getting jammed again and seeing how that would feel but I took the inside pitch and just reacted with no pain so that was a confident moment for me."
After he completed the six-game rehab assignment, Mitchell was finally able to rejoin the team when they needed him the most.
The IronPigs have the second lowest batting average in the IL in August, hitting at a .217 clip. Since July 5 when Lehigh Valley had a three-game cushion atop the IL North, they have gone just 14-22.
The power and production that helped the IronPigs to an average of about four runs a game through the first three months have since disappeared, most of them to Philadelphia to help an ailing Phillies team.
With Lehigh Valley sitting three and a half games out with less than a month to play, the return of a solid bat in Mitchell is sorely needed.
"I'm just going keep trying to play my game the way I know how-scoring runs, driving in runs and playing good defense. Hopefully we can tack on a few wins here toward the end of the season and get in the playoff hunt."
Mitchell is certainly ready. His hand is completely healed, and he is feeling no ill effects of the injury going into the home stretch. His doctors are confident there will be no residual effects, and Mitchell himself even said he passed the ultimate test the day he returned to Lehigh Valley.
"The thing that gets a little sore is when I give someone a handshake and they're pretty firm with it, Mitchell joked. "Yesterday I shook Scott Elarton's hand and seeing him for the first time he gave me a pretty strong handshake and about got me to my knees. I say once I pass that test with his handshake I should be good to go."