Maier was trying, for the second time, to put down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning. He squared around and was struck flush in the face by left-hander Zach Jackson's pitch.
Bleeding, Maier hit the ground, but was able to leave the field under his own power. After the game, returning from the hospital with his right eye swollen shut and the right side of his face distended, Maier was able to crack a joke.
"I should have got the first one down," he told teammates.
If only Maier had been able to put down his first bunt attempt in fair territory, instead of fouling it off, he wouldn't be going on the disabled list. But that's the case now and outfielder Joey Gathright is being recalled from Triple-A Omaha to replace him.
A Royals spokesman said that Maier, a left-handed hitter, was struck under the right eye and suffered a fractured cheekbone, an orbital floor fracture and a zygomatic fracture. The initial examination revealed no damage to his eyesight.
"There was lot of a blood," said manager Trey Hillman, one of the first to reach Maier. "It got him right under the eye."
At first, it appeared that the pitch ticked Maier's helmet before hitting him, but the ball apparently hit him straight on.
"It was a cutter that slipped out of my hand," Jackson said. "What are you going to do? Nobody's perfect. I was trying to go down and away with a cutter, but it just got away from me. It backed up."
Down at the plate, Maier was attended by assistant athletic trainer Frank Kyte, then regained his feet and was led off the field.
Mark Teahen ran for Maier, loading the bases in the fifth inning. Mike Aviles followed with a three-run double.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.