NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of slugger Giancarlo Stanton during live batting practice Saturday, a frightening scene during the team’s first official summer camp workout.
Tanaka’s hat flew off and he immediately collapsed to the ground, cradling his head at Yankee Stadium. Trainers quickly ran to Tanaka, who stayed down for a few minutes before sitting up.
Trainers tended to his head and appeared to check his vision. Tanaka was helped to his feet and walked off the field with help.
Stanton, who had his jaw broken by a high fastball in 2014, bent over at home plate and watched motionlessly. New York star Aaron Judge repeatedly waved behind home plate and asked a video journalist to stop taking images.
Yankees players, some still stretching at the start of the club’s first official practice since Major League Baseball set a truncated 60-game schedule last month, stood or knelt silently.
“That took a little air out,” manager Aaron Boone said.
“That’s kind of a freak accident, one in a million chance of happening,” said left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who replaced Tanaka on the mound moments later. “When it does, it’s terrifying.”
Boone said Tanaka showed concussion-like symptoms at the ballpark but they dissipated at the hospital. A CT scan was negative, and the team said he was able to walk on his own.
Several hours later, the Yankees said Tanaka was released from the hospital.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka has been released from the hospital. https://t.co/nuCScPs4LS
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 4, 2020
I appreciate all the support. I feel it a bit right now, but I’m all good. Going to try to get back on the mound ASAP! Thanks again for all the encouraging words!
— 田中将大/MASAHIRO TANAKA (@t_masahiro18) July 5, 2020
The 31-year-old Tanaka was 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA last season. The Japanese star is 75-43 in six years with the Yankees.
Stanton was the third batter Tanaka faced to start the session, and Boone said Tanaka asked to pitch without a protective screen — common for pitchers during simulated games.
Montgomery requested an L-shaped screen be set up before he started throwing to hitters about five minutes after Tanaka walked off.
“Some people like doing it, some don’t,” Montgomery said. “I requested it after that, just because I was little shaken up.”
Some Yankees pitchers got another scare during batting practice, when a line drive rocketed into a pack of players gathered along the left field line. Nobody appeared to be hit by the ball.
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