CINCINNATI -- As Aaron Rowand lay in a hospital bed with his surgically repaired nose, players at Great American Ball Park were still discussing the game-saving catch that put him there.
Rowand underwent surgery Friday morning to repair the broken nose he suffered while making a spectacular catch the night before, and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He's expected to be out about 15-20 days.
His face-first slam into a metal strip along the top of the center-field wall helped lift the Phillies over the Mets, as it came with the bases loaded and two outs in the first inning of a 2-0 victory.
"It might be the best catch I've ever seen," said manager Charlie Manuel. "It becomes the greatest because of the effort and determination. The way he caught the ball, he knew he was going to hit the fence. You can tell he wasn't giving up."
"I was nervous myself to see that happen," Shane Victorino said.
"I couldn't believe he held onto that ball," said Chris Roberson, the outfielder called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Rowand. "I've hit the wall a few times myself. It's tough. That tells you what kind of player he is. He's hard-nosed. That's a scary catch, knowing you can go face up with that wall and hurt yourself."
Phillies closer Tom Gordon wasn't surprised.
"That's always been the way Aaron plays," said the closer, who saw Rowand's effort many times when the two were with the White Sox in 2003. "He was going to make that play no matter what."
The irony of Rowand's injury is that the aggressive outfielder identified the metal strip as dangerous when he saw it at the beginning of the season. He implored the Phillies to order padding, which arrived Thursday and was scheduled to be installed this weekend.
Rowand had the surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He also suffered non-displaced fractures around his left eye and received 15 stitches for lacerations to his face.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.