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Sunday, September 30, 2012
Thole dodges dugout bullet

By Adam Rubin

ATLANTA -- Josh Thole 's idle Sunday afternoon in the dugout turned into a scare when a screaming foul ball off the bat of Kris Medlen struck the catcher on the right side of his head.

Thole, who has suffered at least four concussions during his professional career, indicated he passed a test for another brain trauma. He said he was fortunate that the damage appears to be limited to a small cut on the back side of his right ear.

"Everything is fine," Thole said. "I just saw the doctor, and there's no issue, other than this big ear I have. There's no concussion. It got me more in the cartilage of my ear. I think that's what saved me. ... I felt fine. It's obviously sore after catching a line drive.

"I didn't know if it was sliced. You just kind of panic. Your ear is ringing. Everything is going through your mind. It's freaky. ... I saw it coming right at Wally [Backman]. Then I saw Wally duck. And when I saw Wally duck, I had nowhere else to go. It could definitely have been way worse. I should be good to go."

Terry Collins said he heard a loud thump and remains unsure if the ball glanced a dugout wall before striking Thole.

"Nobody really knows if it hit him flush or if it came off the wall and hit him, but it got him pretty good," Collins said.

Said Thole: "I don't know. It just happened so fast."