May 2, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ (48) delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY SportsA scary moment at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, as Toronto’s starting pitcher J.A. Happ was taken off the field in a stretcher after being struck in the side of the head with a line drive.
The injury occurred during the bottom of the second inning when the fourth batter of the inning, Desmond Jennings, hit a screaming line drive that appeared to strike Happ just above left eye. The ball bounced hard off of Happ, going down the right field line and resulting in a three-run triple for Jennings.
However, the true severity of the hit was felt by Happ, who lay writhing in pain just in front of the pitcher’s mound. Medical crews were summoned to the field and Happ was bandaged and immobilized before being taken off the field on a stretcher.
Brad Lincoln came in from the bullpen to take Happ’s place in the game.
The injury is oddly reminiscent of the line drive that cost then-Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy the last month of the season. He was struck by an Erick Aybar rocket on September 5, 2012. McCarthy would have to undergo emergency to repair a fractured skull and relieve an epidural hermorrage.
It is also not the first time such an incident has occurred at Tropicana Field. On July 26, 2005, Matt Clement of the Boston Red Sox was struck in the side of the head by a line drive off the bat of Carl Crawford, then of the Rays.
The Blue Jays and their fans will be keeping Happ in prayers as the week continues and more details emerge as to his condition. As always, we will keep you updated.