JA Happ says he feels lucky not to suffer a worse injury after the Blue Jays pitcher was hit in the head with a line drive in a game Tuesday night.
Speaking for the first time since the frightening injury that left fans and opposing players shaken, Happ said he is happy to be released from the hospital and back in the Toronto clubhouse.
“I feel very fortunate,” Happ told reporters before Wednesday’s game. “The whole baseball community has been unbelievable with the messages I’m receiving, things people are sending and all the prayers. It looks like I moved just a little bit. I don’t remember doing that, but just enough to where it caught me on a better spot (instead of) head-on.”
JA Happ was released from the hospital within 24 hours of the incident, and has been played on the 15-day DL.
The play took place in the second inning of Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The 30-year-old left-hander was pitching to Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings when a line drive off the bat of Jennings hit Happ square in the head.
The line drive struck JA Happ with such force that it caromed all the way to the bullpen, allowing two runners to score and Jennings to advance to third. As Happ collapsed motionless to the grass, bleeding from the head, a silence fell over the crowd and Jennings buried his head in his jersey, clearly shaken from the play.
“It’s something you just don’t want to see, don’t want to happen to anybody,” Jennings said after the game. “I didn’t know what to think. I saw it happen and I knew something was wrong. I saw the direction the ball was going. I didn’t know where it hit him. I just knew it was somewhere above the shoulder. It was tough to see. You never want to see anything like that happen to anybody. I talked to him today, and he told me everything was OK, that he was doing better. He was talking to me like normal, like he could go out and go today.”
JA Happ suffered a contusion and had a minor fracture behind his ear, but it is expected to heal without surgery. He did not suffer a concussion on the play.