Los Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker suffered a small skull fracture and hematoma after being hit in the head with a line drive during Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, according to Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times.
Shoemaker was hit in the head during the bottom of the second inning. On a 3-2 pitch, Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager hit a line drive straight back at Shoemaker. The pitcher attempted to react to the line shot, but didn’t have enough time to get his glove in front of his face. The ball hit Shoemaker on the right side of his head and bounced into foul territory.
Shoemaker went down to his knees after being struck, and was quickly attended to by teammates and trainers. Seager appeared concerned while standing at first base, and eventually joined many of the Angels over near Shoemaker after the play was over.
Eventually, Shoemaker was able to stand up and walk off the field under his own power. He received a standing ovation as he left the game.
Following the incident, Shoemaker was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. He was alert, speaking and remained conscious while manager Mike Scioscia and team trainers ran him through his initial evaluation.
At the hospital, a CT scan determined the extent of Shoemaker’s injuries. He will spend the night at the hospital, and will see a neurologist, according to Moura.
At this time, it would be irresponsible to speculate how long Shoemaker might be kept out of action due to the injury. Fracturing a skull and dealing with hematoma is scary enough. It appears Shoemaker is OK for now, but it’s still a terrifying position to be in.
Situations like this occur a couple times per season, and will continue to do so until Major League Baseball introduces an acceptable padded cap for pitchers. While work has been done on that front, nothing has been deemed acceptable by the majority of players.
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Even when the technology exists to prevent this type of thing, it will likely be up to each pitcher to decide whether they want to fully buy in. Still, giving each pitcher that chance would be a significant upgrade over the status quo.
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