Indians' Lara breathing with help from respirator

Updated: November 26, 2007, 5:39 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians reliever Juan Lara remained hospitalized in critical condition on Monday with a head injury sustained in a fatal accident that killed two people on a motorcycle in the Dominican Republic.

Juan Lara


Lara, who pitched in one game for Cleveland last season, was returning from a winter league game Saturday night in San Pedro de Macoris when the sports utility vehicle he was driving was hit by a speeding motorcycle, killing both its rider and passenger.

The 26-year-old is breathing with help from a ventilator and has two fractured ribs, said Dashira Martinez, a spokeswoman for the Plaza de la Salud Hospital in Santo Domingo.

The Estrellas Orientales, Lara's winter league team, reported that the pitcher also had a perforated lung and a blood clot from the head injury.

"The prognosis for Juan is day to day for the moment," team president Jose Mallen said. "The doctors say they have to see what develops with the blood clot. Otherwise they would have to operate on it."

Lara was stopped at an intersection when he was struck on the driver's side. He was pinned inside the vehicle. Lara's girlfriend was with him at the time. She also is in the hospital, but her injuries are not as serious as Lara's.

Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona was the first to report the accident to the Indians, team spokesman Bart Swain said.

"The only concern we have right now is Juan's overall health," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said. "He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to monitor his status."

Lara may need to be transported to the U.S. for surgery, Swain said.

The Indians sent Lino Diaz, director of Latin American Operations, to the Dominican Republic to check on Lara's condition. He was expected to arrive Monday night.

The 26-year-old Lara, originally signed by the Indians in 1999, spent most of last season with Triple-A Buffalo. He was recalled from the minors on Sept. 4 and made his only appearance for the Indians two days later, working 1 1-3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels.

The left-hander pitched in nine games for the Indians in 2006. That year, Lara also pitched for Buffalo and Double-A Akron, compiling a 5-3 record before making his major league debut Sept. 8 against the Chicago White Sox.

Lara had seven scoreless outings for the Indians, who signed him out of their Dominican Academy in 1999. He is on the club's 40-man roster.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press