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Happ targets mid-June return

The SportsXchange

Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ is hoping to return by mid-June from injuries suffered when he was hit by a line drive earlier this month.

Happ sustained a skull fracture, contusions that required stitches and a sprained right knee when he was hit on the left ear by a shot back to the mound from the bat of Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings during a May 7 game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"It's hard to put a time frame on it exactly at this point, just because I haven't really been able to throw quite yet," Happ told ESPN's Outside the Lines.

Happ's rehab is restricted to throwing a weighted ball indoors at the Blue Jays' minor league complex near Tampa. He's waiting for a knee brace to arrive before he starts throwing outside.

While his head injuries are healing and his hearing loss is improving, the 30-year-old pitcher said he still has trouble walking and hasn't started running yet. He estimated he lost 30 percent of his hearing when he was hit but that it has improved to 5 percent.

"I can hear everything pretty good," he said. "I feel like it's close to being back to normal."

Asked if he would be nervous about returning to the mound, Happ said, "I anticipate it not being an issue, but we'll never know until I get back out there. It's something you try not to think about. There's certainly a chance it will be more difficult to do that from now on."
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