Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Saturday, June 15, 2013
Rays' Alex Cobb to stay in hospital

ESPN.com news services

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Alex Cobb was taken off the field on a stretcher after he was hit on the right ear by a liner off the bat of Kansas City's Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning of Saturday's game.

Cobb put a hand on his head after being struck. Trainers from both teams and other medical staff immediately ran onto the field. Cobb could be seen kicking his legs while being examined on the mound.

The Rays announced that Cobb remained conscious the whole time and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for further examination. Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said all tests were normal and that Cobb suffered a concussion. He will spend the night at Bayfront.

"Can't thank everyone enough for the prayers," Cobb tweeted Saturday night. "Was the only way for me to make it out of there ok. Look forward to getting back out there."

Tampa Bay pitcher David Price visited Cobb in the hospital and tweeted: "Cobber is way more tough than me!! Laughing at jokes and the name they gave him!! Please keep him and his family in your prayers."

"He seemed pretty normal, so that was good," Price said after returning to the ballpark. "Our hearts are with him. He told me that (head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield) was making him really mad on the field because he wouldn't let him stand up, so it was good that he wanted to be able to stand up. He knew where he was. It's amazing that he is in the condition I feel like he is in right now."

Players on both teams had hands on their heads as a stunned silence overtook Tropicana Field after the crowd gasped when Cobb was struck.

Alex Cobb
Rays starter Alex Cobb was taken off the field on a stretcher after he was struck in the head by a line drive Saturday.

"When they rolled him over, Cobber was talking and that was a good thing," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after the team's 5-3 win. "It's one of those really, really bad moments. It's part of the game and it stinks sometimes. Just a horrible moment to witness. It doesn't happen often, thank God, but when it does it can really give you pause. We were very lucky. Of course Alex was very lucky.

"I thought our medical staff did a great job. They were beyond professional with how they dealt with the entire moment."

Hosmer's drive bounced back toward the plate area, where catcher Jose Lobaton picked up the ball and threw him out at first.

"He hit it so hard, (Cobb) couldn't even react, and it makes everybody in the stadium sick to their stomach when something like that happens," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Hosmer said he didn't even want to run to first.

"I just wanted to see how he was doing," Hosmer said. "You hate to see that, especially Alex having a great year. It's just scary stuff, man. I'm glad he's all right. I know he's been talking and having conversations."

It came a month after Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ was also struck by a liner against the Rays and suffered a skull fracture. Happ was discharged from an area hospital the following day.

Joyce I think everybody heard it. The loudest and worst ball hitting somebody I've ever seen. Obviously the same happened with Happ here and that was terrifying, too. But man, that one caught him square.

-- Rays RF Matt Joyce

The sound of the ball striking Cobb -- which sounded like a bat hitting a ball -- could be heard in the press box. Rays players, Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey gathered at the mound during the 11-minute delay. Shortstop Yunel Escobar was in squatting position looking down at the ground, while Hickey appeared at times to be nervously pacing near the mound.

"I think everybody heard it," Rays right fielder Matt Joyce said. "The loudest and worst ball hitting somebody I've ever seen. Obviously the same happened with Happ here and that was terrifying, too. But man, that one caught him square."

It has been a tough week for Cobb, who left the team after starting Monday night's game against Boston due to the death of his grandmother. He was informed of the death after the game, in which the 25-year-old gave up a season-high six runs over four innings in a 10-8, 14-inning loss to the Red Sox.

While Happ has been fine since getting hurt, Arizona's Brandon McCarthy collapsed at a restaurant with a seizure related to the head injury he suffered while pitching last September. He was having dinner with his wife at a Phoenix restaurant when he passed out.

While pitching for Oakland last Sept. 5, McCarthy suffered what was described at the time as life-threatening injuries when he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels. He had an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and a skull fracture. Emergency surgery was performed that night and he was released from the hospital six days later.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.