The line drive, with an exit velocity of 95 mph, struck Maeda just under his right knee. He picked up the ball and made the throw to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for the out, but then fell to the ground. He was helped off the field but could barely put any weight on his right leg.
X-rays were negative, and Maeda was diagnosed with a right lower leg contusion. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he expects Maeda to make his next start.
"He's feeling better actually now," Roberts said. "It was something with a nerve that just lit him up."
"What I know for sure is that it didn't hit the bone," Maeda said through a translator. "But I wasn't able to put any strength or flex it at all, so I was a little bit in shock."
It was the second time in four starts Maeda was drilled by a comebacker. A right-hander, he was hit in the back of his right hand by a line drive early in his May 28 start at New York but remained in the game and still pitched effectively.
Of all the hits he has taken in the past, Maeda said Tuesday's hurt the most.
Maeda had given up only two combined earned runs over his previous three outings before Tuesday's start. He gave up three runs, two earned, in 5 innings against the Diamondbacks before his outing ended early Tuesday.
Maeda is 5-4 with a 2.75 ERA over 13 starts and was in line to pick up the victory Tuesday. It is his first season in Major League baseball after pitching eight seasons in Japan, all with Hiroshima of the Japan Central League.
Maeda exits game after getting drilled in leg by comebacker
Paul Goldschmidt hits a line drive at the right leg of Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda. Maeda throws to first to get Goldschmidt out, but he falls to the ground. Maeda would be helped off the field and removed from the game.