(Reuters) – New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of teammate Giancarlo Stanton on Saturday, has been released from hospital, the Major League Baseball team said on Saturday.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tanaka had concussion-like symptoms before leaving for the hospital but they have since dissipated and a CT scan returned negative.
Tanaka will have to go through concussion protocol before returning to the field, Boone said.
In a terrifying scene during his team’s first official workout since returning from the COVID-19 layoff, the right-handed Japanese pitcher immediately dropped to the ground where he remained for several minutes.
Trainers and teammates rushed to the mound where Tanaka, 31, was tended to. He was then helped to his feet and walked off the field with the assistance of trainers.
“Anytime you see that on a baseball field and then add a layer, that it’s a teammate, I mean that stops you in your tracks and you hope for the best,” said Boone.
Tanaka, who was facing his third batter of the day in the simulated game, was responsive after the incident but was sent to hospital for further evaluation and testing.
After the incident a protective screen was placed in front of the mound before Jordan Montgomery took over pitching duties.
“I was a little timid after seeing that, a little squirrelly,” said Montgomery.
“That’s kind of a freak accident, a one-in-a-million chance of happening. And then it does, it’s terrifying. Especially as a teammate and friend, you don’t want to see anybody hurting.”
Tanaka became the fifth-highest paid MLB pitcher when the prized free agent signed with New York in 2014 following a dominant career with Japan’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
In 2019, Tanaka finished the season with a record of 11-9 in 31 starts with an earned run average of 4.45.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Pritha Sarkar and William Mallard)