Here’s some good news: Pirates pitcher Chris Jakubauskas was released from from the hospital yesterday and was able to fly with his team from Houston to Milwaukee. He’s on the 15-day disabled list, however, diagnosed with a concussion and head contusion.
In case you missed it, Jakubauskas was nailed in the side of the head with a line drive off the bat of Lance Berkman during Saturday’s Pirates-Astros game. To me the scariest part is that it hit behind his ear. You don’t want to take a ball to the skull, but at least your skull is there to provide some protection. A line shot off someone’s bat can cause serious damage no matter where it hits, as was evidenced by the death of Mike Coolbaugh, who was hit in the neck behind and below the ear, causing a
ruptured artery that proved fatal.
There’s not much you can do about such things. After Coolbaugh died baseball put all of its base coaches in helmets, but that’s silly given that a helmet wouldn’t have likely saved Coolbaugh given where the ball hit. A helmet maybe could have helped Jakubauskas, but given the precise bodily mechanics in involved in pitching there is no way anyone would support putting them on pitchers. And to be sure, batters suffer concussions after being hit on the helmet fairly frequently, so it’s not like such a thing would be a cure-all.
No, we just need to realize that throwing a ball close to 100 miles per hour is a dangerous activity, that standing in front of a guy hitting it almost as hard back at you is dangerous as well, and thank our lucky stars that we don’t see serious injuries as a result far more often than we do.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.