Phillies prospect has eye removed after freak training accident

Phillies prospect Matt Imhof in the hospital. (@matt_imhof48)
Phillies prospect Matt Imhof in the hospital. (@matt_imhof48)

Philadelphia Phillies minor leaguer Matt Imhof was going through a normal postgame exercise routine last week when he was injured in a freak accident that Imhof said Thursday led to his eye being surgically removed.

Imhof is a 22-year-old pitcher picked by the Phillies in the second round of the 2014 draft and assigned to the Single-A the Clearwater Threshers. He was in the workout room of the Brevard County Manatees, the Milwaukee Brewers Single-A team, last Friday when his eye was, as doctors put it, “crushed like a grape.”

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According to’s Matt Gelb, Imhof was injured when the mounted base broke off the rubber resistance band he was using. It flew off the wall and hit him in the face. He posted the above photo to Instagram on Thursday with this caption explaining the accident and what happened since:

As many of you know on Friday June 25th I had an accident. A large price of metal hit me in the head/eye resulting in a fractured nose, 2 fractured orbital bones, and most significantly, the loss of vision in my right eye. I was immediately taken to the ER and then transferred to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, the #1 eye hospital in the world. That night, the doctors informed me that the damage to my eye was extreme and essentially that my eye had been crushed like a grape. The doctors told me they were going to do everything possible to reconstruct it but in all likelihood I would never regain sight in my right eye.

The first surgery was somewhat a success but overall nothing had changed, so after discussions with my family and my doctors, it was decided that the best chance I had to live a normal life was to have my right eye removed and have a prosthetic one put in. This decision was not an easy one to make but to me it seemed like the right one so on Tuesday afternoon I went forward with the surgery. I’m currently still in Miami recovering from surgery but I’m doing well.

This has been the hardest week of my life but I’ve had amazing support from my family and friends to help me get through it. For those who have been wishing me well, your support has not gone unnoticed and I appreciate everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers. I had the best doctors in the world doing their best work on me and for that I am grateful as well. Although this injury has been tough it could have been much worse…I’m lucky to still have vision in my left eye…I’m lucky that i didn’t have brain damage…and I’m lucky to be surrounded my the most loving and understanding people in the world. I just wanted to write this message to let everyone know that even though I suffered some bad luck, I’m not dead. I’m gonna be alright, I’m gonna persevere, and I’m gonna succeed. It takes more than this to bring me down. Again thanks to everyone for the support.

That’s a heckuva outlook for a 22-year-old.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!