J.A. Happ Injury: Updates on Blue Jay Pitcher's Status

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2013

J.A. Happ was struck in the head by a screaming line drive off the bat of the Tampa Bay Rays' Desmond Jennings in May and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. Thankfully, the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher recovered.  


UPDATE: Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 10:40 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

From MLB.com's Josh Liebeskind:

'[J.A.] Happ is scheduled to start Wednesday's series finale against the Mariners, in what will be his first appearance since a line drive struck him in the head on May 7. The result of the play was a skull fracture and a sprained right knee, sustained when he fell to the ground. The left-hander was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Monday, but didn't join the team in Seattle until Tuesday.

'I am happy about the way I feel now and I am happy to finally be here after all that because ... rehab's never fun, this kind of stuff wasn't fun,' Happ said.'

---End of update--- 


UPDATE: Wednesday, July 24, at 7:46 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Sportsnet columnist Shi Davidi has the latest on Happ:

---End of update---


UPDATE: Thursday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to ESPN's William Weinbaum, Happ hopes to return to the mound in June:

In his first one-on-one interview since being hit, Happ told Kelly Naqi of "Outside the Lines" that his walking isn't up to par yet, he hasn't been able to begin running and his only throwing has been with a weighted ball, indoors against a wall. Happ said he was told not to increase his throwing activity without the new knee brace.

But the former Phillies and Astros pitcher said doctors gave him good reports on the healing of his head injuries. He hopes to return to action in mid-June.


---End of update---


UPDATE: Thursday, May 9, at 7:40 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to MLB.com reporter Gregor Chisholm, Happ will miss 4-6 weeks of action:


---End of update---


UPDATE: Wednesday, May 8, at 9:10 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to ESPN.com, Happ has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with "a skull fracture behind his left ear that doctors believe will heal on its own, as well as a sore right knee that he tweaked when he dropped to the ground Tuesday night."

Happ also supplied this quote about the incident:

"I feel really fortunate," Happ said after limping into a room at Tropicana Field for a news conference and climbing a couple steps to sit down behind a table.

"It looks like I moved just a little bit. I don't remember doing that, but it looks like it was just enough to where it must have caught me in a better spot, because I think it could have got me head on," he said. "I've got some stitches and there's a fracture in the skull, I suppose, behind my ear, but it's not serious or threatening. We'll let those heal."

---End of update---


From the team's Twitter account:

Shi Davidi of Sportsnet has more:

As violently as he was struck by that liner, it's a relief to see that his injuries aren't more severe.

R.A. Dickey had the following comments after the incident (via ESPN):

"It's devastating. ... I could barely watch it. You just don't know what to think, really. It paralyzes you a little bit. And when it sounds like two bats, when you hear the sound off the bat and it sounds like it hits another bat, it's scary. It's really, really scary. I just started praying in the spot. That's all I knew to do."

The incident occurred in the second inning with the game tied at one. The ball was hit so hard it caromed off Happ's head and shot into foul territory in right field, allowing runners on second and third base to score.

Happ, who joined the Blue Jays last July in a 10-player swap with the Houston Astros, is 2-2 on the season with a 4.91 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and 26 strikeouts.

He has been a regular fixture in the rotation since Ricky Romero struggled in spring training and started the season in the minors, while Josh Johnson was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list.

With more and more incidents of pitchers being struck in the head by line drives, Major League Baseball has continued to investigate the use of protective headgear for pitchers, according to ESPN. Via that report, the league is working with several companies to develop a prototype for a padded cap that would better protect pitchers in such incidents.

Happ was lucky his injuries weren't more severe. The next pitcher struck by a line drive might not be so fortunate. Hopefully, MLB can incorporate more protective headgear for pitchers as soon as next season.


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