J.A. Happ was carted off the field on a stretcher Tuesday night after the Blue Jays pitcher was nailed in the head by a line drive.
Happ was pitching against the Tampa Bay Rays when center fielder Desmond Jennings hit a shot back toward the mound. Unable to get out of the way in time, J.A. Happ was hit in the head with the line drive and went down to the grass.
The ball caromed off down the right field line, giving Jennings a triple and bringing in Jose Molina and Yunel Escobar to score. Jennings was visibly shaken after the play, burying his face into his jersey and watching on as team trainers rushed to J.A. Happ as he lay bleeding and motionless.
The play took place in the second inning of the game, leading to an 11-minute delay as medical personnel immobolized Happ, loaded him onto a stretcher, and carted him off the field.
Happ becomes the latest Major League Baseball injury to involve pitchers being hit by batter balls. Oakland’s Brandon McCarthy took a line drive to the head last September, causing a skull fracture and brain contusion that ended up requiring surgery. Detroit’s Doug Fister was also struck in the head during the World Series, though he was able to remain in the game.
In November MLB general managers discussed measures they could take to make it safer for pitchers. One idea is to create a cap lined with Kevlar, the high-impact material used by military and law enforcement officials for body armor.
In March J.A. Happ signed a two-year, $8.9 million extension with the Blue Jays. He has a 2-2 record with a 3.98 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings coming into tonight’s game.No condition was available on J.A. Happ, though the pitcher was able to raise his hand and wave to the crowd as he was being carted away.
Here is video of the J.A. Happ injury: