Commentary

Delcarmen recovering from accident

Performance was an issue even before accident

Updated: October 6, 2009, 1:15 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- In the panicked moments after his car slammed into a median just south of Boston on Interstate 93 as he travelled to Fenway Park Saturday afternoon, Red Sox pitcher Manny Delcarmen instinctively reached for his cell phone to call his wife, Anna.

"I made the mistake of calling my wife," Delcarmen said Monday with a smile. "I didn't know if I was alive or what was going on, so I called her and said, 'I just got in a wreck.' She started crying and I'm like, 'I'll call you back.' I called the wrong person."

Delcarmen is happy he can look back at the situation and laugh, but recounting the accident to reporters Monday, it's remarkable Delcarmen was even able to put on a uniform for the team's optional workout, let alone throw on the outfield grass.

On Saturday, Delcarmen said he was traveling in the left-most lane up 93 when, right before the Savin Hill exit, a car in the middle lane jerked to its right, seemingly spooking a vehicle in the slow lane. According to Delcarmen, that car in the far right lane then appeared to lose control trying to avoid contact with the car in the middle lane and swerved back across the rain-slicked highway.

With his only other option likely striking the out-of-control vehicle, Delcarmen slammed the breaks of his Hummer SUV and veered to his left, driving into the median. Despite the car's monstrous frame, Delcarmen said the entire front end looked like it had imploded, the front windshield shattered, and the vehicle seemingly had no front axel remaining.

Delcarmen, who had been wearing his seatbelt, emerged largely unscathed.

"I feel bad for my Hummer," said Delcarmen. "But I'm happy it was my Hummer and not some other parts [of me]."

Following protocol, paramedics transported Delcarmen to Mass General Hospital, where he was examined and released. Two hours after the accident, he was in the Red Sox' locker room, rattled and sore, but already pondering his future on the hill.

On Monday, he said his health has improved, noting his neck felt "100- times better than yesterday," and planned to throw from 120 feet on flat ground as he continues to stretch himself back out after the crash.

Delcarmen tossed from 90 feet on Sunday before stiffening up.

"It's definitely a lot better than the last couple days," said Delcarmen, who noted he hopes to return to the mound in the coming days, but also acknowledged his postseason role is still up in the air. "I want to get healthy before anything and then we'll see what happens."

The accident is the latest in a trying season for Delcarmen, whose postseason roster spot might have been in jeopardy before the accident, based solely on his inconsistent performance.

Delcarmen posted a 14.14 ERA in September, giving up 12 runs (11 earned) on 15 hits in 7 innings of work. His ERA, which stood at 2.15 on July 27, has skyrocketed to 4.53 to close out the year.

Delcarmen acknowledged there's no easy answer to why his velocity has dropped. One pitch might hit 95 mph on the radar gun, but the next will spot at 90. He's been working with pitching coach John Farrell, but hasn't pinpointed the troubles.

"It's been weird for me," said Delcarmen. "Normally, I start off a little shaky and finish strong. This year's been the complete opposite. My velocity is down a little bit, we're trying to figure out the cause of that. It's been tough the past couple weeks.

"I want to get on the mound and help these guys out."

With that in mind, Delcarmen arrived at the ballpark Monday in a suit, joking that it's officially playoff time when he trades in his familiar jeans and button-down shirts for the three-piece look.

Delcarmen wants to be available in the bullpen when the Red Sox meet the Angels in the American League Division Series, but it's all about health right now. And not just for him. He might advise his teammates and coaches to avoid automobile transportation in the near future.

"[Hitting coach Dave Magadan] told me he was coming in today and a truck 200 yards in front of him broke its tire, hit the median, and flipped right in front of him."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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