J.A. Happ leaves on stretcher after taking line drive to head

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Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ departed the field on a stretcher after taking a Desmond Jennings line drive off the left side of his head in the second inning of his start Tuesday evening against the Rays.

Happ appeared to be conversing with paramedics as they led him off in a cart, but his neck was stabilized by a brace and he had some blood dribbling out of his left ear. He will probably be taken to a local hospital near Tropicana Field and monitored overnight. We’ll pass along any further updates.

Happ earned a spot in Toronto’s starting rotation with a big spring and signed a two-year, $8.9 million contract extension with the Jays on March 27. He was sporting a 3.98 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 26/18 K/BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings entering Tuesday’s outing.

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UPDATE, 8:33 PM ET: Happ maintained full consciousness on the way to Bayfront Medical Center, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. MLB.com has the replay of the incident:

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.