Found May 08, 2013 on Fox Sports Florida:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Down the hall, in the visitors clubhouse, there were signs of the little-discussed danger pitchers embrace each day with their chosen profession.The stall below a black-and-white placard that read 48 HAPP stood untouched, a glove tucked into a small compartment in the top-right corner. Two blue caps hung on hooks on either side of a uniform. Feet away, newspapers with the headline, A sickening sight, sat folded on a table as players prepared for another night with the Unspoken Possibility as part of life on the mound.Shortly after, Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, about five hours removed from being discharged from nearby Bayfront Medical Center, entered a small room at Tropicana Field and shared his brush with the horrific, the possible. He received treatment for a head contusion and a cut to his left ear after a line drive off Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings bat introduced an eerie hush at Tropicana Field in the bottom of the second inning Tuesday. Happ was placed on the 15-day disabled list after receiving stitches and sustaining a skull fracture behind the affected ear. His future is uncertain, but most of the concern is gone.He knows hes lucky. This is the life he leads. I feel very fortunate, Happ said.The sight Tuesday was as stunning as it was sad: Happ, his face buried in his black glove, cupped the injured ear with his left palm. He remembers releasing the ball I thought I made a decent pitch, he said. Then he recalls a loud ring. Then pressure. Then the sensation that this night was anything but normal.Normalcy. Its often assumed, of course. Its thought when a pitcher takes the mound that hell walk toward a dugout, perhaps after six or seven innings, unchanged and unharmed. Each has picked a life in the crossfire. Each crack of the bat could mean a rush of medical personnel a stretcher an ambulance ride CT scans fear.Before Happ spoke, those possibilities were understood in the Rays clubhouse. In a rare display, they were discussed. Thats the thing about what happened to Happ on Tuesday: Pitchers often avoid talking about the risk among one another. It hangs there, avoided, like a stained piece of clothing, until dragged out of the closet.You dont want to bring it up, Rays right-hander Alex Cobb said. Its almost like you dont talk about getting hit by a car. You dont talk about those things, because you feel like if you talk about it, the chances are it might happen. Its just one of those things you ignore.Cobb was like many Rays pitchers Wednesday. The event involving Happ made the Unspoken Possibility more noticeable. Still, they worry little about their safety. As left-hander David Price put it: Everybodys job has a point where you can get hurt, whether its using a stapler or Super Glue. Anything.Price and others have lived the threat. In September 2011, a line drive from the Boston Red Soxs Mike Aviles hit Price and forced the pitcher to leave early. About four years ago, the inner right hip of Rays reliever Cesar Ramos was hit by a line drive while playing for Triple-A Portland as part of the San Diego Padres organization. Cobb has been hit multiple times on the body, dating back to high school. Last August, Rays reliever Brandon Gomes, then with Triple-A Durham, took a line drive off a foot.I think youre always concerned about that happening, Ramos said. Its just one of those where you hope it doesnt. Its reality. Its just unfortunate that it happens. Its just part of the game.A part of the game few pitchers choose to think about. And for good reason.It was really scary, Rays reliever Jake McGee said. Yesterday, everybody was silent in the whole stadium. You hate to see things like that. Youre just kind of shocked. You dont really think about (the risks) at all. Then when it happens, its kind of in the back of your head a little bit. Once you get back out there, you kind of get locked in, and you think about the pitch you need to make.History includes examples of the risk. Former Red Sox pitcher Bryce Florie sustained a facial injury when a line drive from the New York Yankees Ryan Thompson hit him in September 2000. Last September, the Oakland Athletics Brandon McCarthy sustained serious brain injuries after he was hit by a line drive from the Los Angeles Angels Erick Aybar.There are more. They are unavoidable. They are part of the game. Cobb compared a pitcher to a NASCAR driver who wants to return after a major wreck. Its an odds game, one Cobb and others accept as part of gripping a mound, as part of the life they lead.We all think about it, Cobb said. We know the chances of it happening. Its a strong dose of reality, the fact of how easily that can happen. Its not going to be something thats going to change my approach on the mound. Its not going to change my intensity on the mound. It has always been in the back of my mind, and its still going to be in the back of my mind.Said Gomes: Its as scary or terrible of a thing youre going to see on the field. I know we were all hoping and praying for (Happ). You just get that sick feeling in your stomach. You dont even want to go on with the game for a short moment after that.But the games, the threat, go on. Tuesday. Wednesday. More. More. More.Through it all, theres danger. Through it all, pitchers hope to avoid the next Unspoken Possibility that becomes a sickening sight. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
GET WELL SOON

J.A. Happ hit in head by line drive

In Tuesday night's Blue Jays-Rays game, Toronto starting pitcher JA Happ was hit in the side of the head by a line drive off the bat of Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings. Happ was taken off the field on a stretcher with his head immobilized, and he offered the crowd a wave of his hand as he left the field. Video of the incident is below the jump, but I must warn you that it...

Rays pitchers aware of unspoken dangers on mound

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Down the hall, in the visitors clubhouse, there were signs of the little-discussed danger pitchers embrace each day with their chosen profession.The stall below a black-and-white placard that read 48 HAPP stood untouched, a glove tucked into a small compartment in the top-right corner. Two blue caps hung on hooks on either side of a uniform. Feet away, newspapers...

JA Happ hit in head by line drive, leaves game (Video)

J.A. Happ left Tuesday’s Toronto Blue Jays-Tampa Bay Rays game after getting hit in the head by a line drive. Happ was facing Desmond Jennings with men on second and third and one out in the bottom of the second inning. Jennings drilled a 3-1 pitch right back up the middle, and the line drive appeared to nail Happ squarely in the head. Happ went down immediately while the ball...

Jays' J.A. Happ hit by line drive against Rays

The second inning turned scary at Tropicana Field. Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ was immobilized and removed from the field on a stretcher with one out in the bottom of the second Tuesday after being hit in the head with a line drive off the bat of Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings. Medical staff attended to Happ, and players from both teams watched from the...

Rays 10, Blue Jays 4

Matt Moore won his sixth straight decision to start the season, Evan Longoria drove in three runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-4 on Wednesday night. Moore (6-0) overcame control issues, allowing two runs, six hits and four walks in five innings. The left-hander threw 104 pitches, including 56 strikes, during his seventh start of the year. Longoria had a...

Luke Scott draws bases-loaded walk, Rays win in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Luke Scott drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night. Scott fell behind 0-2 in the count before taking four straight balls from Brad Lincoln. The Rays loaded the bases on Evan Longoria's double off Aaron Loup (1-3) and two walks. The game featured...

Matt Moore wins sixth straight, Rays top Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Matt Moore won his sixth straight decision to start the season, Evan Longoria drove in three runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-4 on Wednesday night. Moore (6-0) overcame control issues, allowing two runs, six hits and four walks in five innings. The left-hander threw 104 pitches, including 56 strikes, during his seventh start...

Rays 5, Blue Jays 4(10)

Luke Scott drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night. Scott fell behind 0-2 in the count before taking four straight balls from Brad Lincoln. The Rays loaded the bases on Evan Longoria's double off Aaron Loup (1-3) and two walks. The game featured a rare matchup of reigning...

Will Price be right for fantasy owners?

Excluded from our breakdown of early-season flops was David Price. The reigning American League Cy Young winner certainly seemed like a candidate for this list, given his 5.21 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in April. Price was granted clemency, as the Tampa ace had submitted four quality starts in six outings, with ill-fated ventures against the Indians (five innings, 10 hits, three walks, eight...

Blue Jays Pitcher J.A. Happ Taken Off Field on Stretcher After Being Hit in Head by Line Drive

Blue Jays fans have had their fair share of unfortunate moments this season, but the scariest one of them all took place Tuesday night in Tampa Bay. Toronto starter J.A. Happ was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings in the bottom of the third inning. The ball appeared to ricochet off the side of Happ’s head and into right field. Jennings ended up on third...

Happ hit in head by line drive, Jays beat Rays 6-4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ was hit in the head by a line drive and taken off the field on a stretcher during Toronto's 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. In a frightening scene at Tropicana Field, Desmond Jennings' second-inning liner caromed squarely off the left side of Happ's head with a loud "thwack!" that could...

J.A. Happ hit in the head by a Desmond Jennings liner

It’s one of the scariest scenes in baseball, Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ was hit squarely in the head by a line drive by Tampa Bay Rays’ Desmond Jennings in the second inning of Tuesday’s game a Tropicana Field.  Happ was down for several minutes holding the left side of his head while being treated by trainers. Desmond Jennings finished on third base on the play, and was obviously shake...

Alex Cobbs racks up strikeouts in short outing

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay Alex Cobb has struck out 13 in 4 2-3 innings Friday night, becoming the first pitcher in major league history to fan that many batters and fail to make it through the fifth inning. The right-hander left the game against the San Diego Padres after throwing 117 pitches. He recorded 13 of 14 outs on strikeouts -- four of them in the third, when...

Cobb K's 13 in 4.2 innings, Rays win

Alex Cobb struck out 13 in less than five innings and Ryan Roberts and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs apiece to help the Tampa Bay Rays rally for a 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night. Cobb became the first pitcher in major league history to fan that many batters and fail to make it through the fifth. The right-hander left after throwing 117 pitches. He recorded...

Rays 6, Padres 3

Alex Cobb struck out 13 in less than five innings and Ryan Roberts and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs apiece to help the Tampa Bay Rays rally for a 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night. Cobb became the first pitcher in major league history to fan that many batters and fail to make it through the fifth. The right-hander left after throwing 117 pitches. He recorded...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.