There’s a slightly disturbing trend happening to players of Los Angeles Major League Baseball teams. Two players, one former and one current, have been hit in the head with line drives in the last week. One has to wonder who’s next since there is the old superstition that things often happen in groups of three.
It’s a scary thought, getting hit in the head with a line drive. A ball moving that fast and hitting you in the right place can very possibly kill you. That means Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and Angels’ pitcher C.J. Wilson are both extremely lucky men. Both were struck in the head with a line drive during batting practice. Both, while still requiring medical attention, walked off the field on their own.
On Saturday at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ training camp in Glendale, AZ, Koufax was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Andre Ethier while watching pitching prospect Ross Stripling. Koufax, 78, maintained his footing but suffered a cut to the forehead. He was, however, immediately carted off by the team’s trainers in a golf cart and immediately tended to by the medical staff. The HOF pitcher seemed to take it in stride, being seen later that day in the Dodgers’ clubhouse conversing with some of the players.
A mere four days later Angels’ starting pitcher CJ Wilson was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Yorvit Torreabla while throwing live batting practice. Wilson was knocked to the ground suffering a gash on his head. He, like Koufax, never lost consciousness and actually wanted to continue pitching. At the insistence of the team and medical staff he was taken to the hospital for a CT scan as a precaution. Wilson downplayed the incident later tweeting,
@str8edger8cer Everything is fine, except that pitch I threw. Shoulda caught it. Thanks for the #PMA – lesson is to not pitch to contact! Haha
These kinds of injuries should not be taken lightly though. In 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy, then of the Oakland Athletics, was hit in the head with a line drive during a game. He was out for the rest of the season, underwent emergency surgery after the incident, and experienced a seizure last year. McCarthy’s misfortune sparked the approval of an optional padded cap for pitchers by MLB. However rare, the possibility of a serious injury is omnipresent.
The important thing is that neither Koufax nor Wilson were seriously injured. Both men are recovering just fine. In fact Wilson joked about everyone else’s worry tweeting,
@str8edgeracer Resisting urge to misspell everything as a joke…
The joke would have been a little funny, maybe. Given that the facts, however, it is not exactly something to joke about. First, there is the fact that other pitchers have been more seriously injured in the past, and secondly, there’s the fact that the league has introduced new protective head gear for pitchers. Both point to the idea that this problem should be taken seriously. There’s always the convenient third issue of things happening in groups of three too. If I were a player on one of the Los Angeles ball clubs I’d be sure to be very aware of my surroundings and no, I am not joking.