Blue Jays southpaw J. A. Happ has been discharged from a St. Petersburg hospital after being hit in the head with a batted ball last night:
Bayfront Medical Center said in a statement that Happ was discharged after being upgraded from fair to good condition on Wednesday. Happ was taken there after being struck on the left side of the head by a ball off the bat of Desmond Jennings during Tuesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Blue Jays said Happ was responsive and feeling better after sustaining a head bruise and cut to his the left ear.
The beaning again raises the issue about how to better protect pitchers:
It was the latest injury to a pitcher struck by a batted ball in the last few years, and baseball has discussed ways to protect hurlers who ply their craft against the world’s strongest hitters — only 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate.
General managers discussed the issue during their meetings in November and MLB presented several ideas at the winter meetings weeks later.
MLB staff have said a cap liner with Kevlar, the material used in body armor for the military, law enforcement and NFL players, is among the ideas under consideration.
The liners, weighing perhaps 5 ounces or less, would go under a pitcher’s cap and help protect against line drives that often travel over 100 mph.
Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who was hospitalized after getting struck with a line drive last September, sounds a cautionary note:
Most everything that’s come out wouldn’t have protected me, and it wouldn’t have protected [Happ] if he got hit directly in the ear. You’re at a point now where you’re looking at batting helmets. You’d have to have something that protected the ear and then the face and beyond. So it’s kind of a slippery slope. Someone will have to come up with something really good and really sound. Otherwise, I don’t know how you answer that question.