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Pitcher hit in head by line drive


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He's OK, folks! Indians' David Huff takes A-Rod line drive off head

By David Brown

Cleveland Indians left-hander David Huff(notes) scared the heck out of Yankee Stadium on Saturday, dropping to the pitcher's mound after New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez(notes) hit him in the head with a line drive.

Holy shades of Herb Score. Or worse, Ray Chapman.

Defenseless, even with a glove, Huff was struck just above the left ear. Rodriguez hit the ball so hard, it ricocheted almost into the right-field corner, perhaps 275 feet from home plate, which allowed him to take second base with an RBI double.

The home team had taken a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning but Yankee Stadium, with almost 47,000 in attendance, had turned nearly silent.

Frightening. But after medical staffs from both teams attended him for a few minutes and carted him off the field, Huff gave the "thumb's up" sign. He was on the way to the hospital, but he was OK.


Update: Huff is so OK, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, he is back in the clubhouse after the game. A little woozy, but present and accounted for. What a skull on this guy!

Rodriguez was so distraught, he reportedly left Yankee Stadium to go to the hospital to visit Huff. Apparently, A-Rod returned and said:

"Your heart stops. You want so bad to take it back."

This might be a good time to reiterate the need for pitchers to wear something more than flimsy caps when they stand just 60 feet away from danger. If the base coaches must wear helmets ... anyway, back to Huff.

Via Anthony Castrovince's story on MLB.com:

Huff was taken to nearby New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Indians media relations director Bart Swain said Huff never lost consciousness and did not suffer any memory loss as a result of the injury.

A CT scan found no damage.

Quite a relief, and not only to Huff, his family, his team and its fans. A-Rod, clearly upset, had grabbed his own head in shock and disbelief before taking a knee.

Huff, who is 25 years old, came in with a 5.25 ERA in eight starts this season. The ninth one was a pretty crappy experience, but it's good to know that he is apparently healthy enough to make it to his 10th start.

As Castrovince's story later points out, fans familiar with Indians history know about Chapman and Score.

Chapman, in 1920, was fatally struck in the head with a pitch line drive by Yankees' submariner Carl Mays at the Polo Grounds. Perhaps on his way to a Hall of Fame career, Chapman is the only modern major leaguer ever to die from an on-field injury.

Score, in 1957, was struck in the right eye by a line drive from the Yankees' Gil McDougald. His career would continue, but Score was never the same pitcher for whatever reason. He was AL Rookie of the Year in 1955.

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