Umpire out of hospital after losing consciousness when struck by fastball
LOS ANGELES -- Umpire Kerwin Danley was released from a hospital early Sunday morning, about 5 hours after he took a 96 mph fastball to the right side of his jaw -- briefly losing consciousness when the pitch from Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Brad Penny slammed into his face mask.
Danley, a native of Los Angeles, was resting comfortably Sunday afternoon at the home of his mother, who attended Saturday night's game and rode with him in an ambulance to the hospital. His brother, Kevin, met them at the hospital, where they were joined by umpire Greg Gibson after the game.
"He was released at 2 a.m. and his mom sat up with him all night," Gibson said at Dodger Stadium before Sunday's game. "I just talked to Kerwin on the phone -- and, typical K.D., he's worried about his chest protector. That's kind of the way we're geared and the way we think. But he was fine, and he'll be back."
Exactly when Danley will be back isn't clear at this point.
"It's one of those things where baseball's going to do the precautionary measures and keep K.D. out for a while," Gibson said. "The medical staff of Major League Baseball will dictate all that. I've had three concussions myself, so he's in the right hands and they'll do what they need to do to protect him. When you have a head injury, it's always good to take whatever precautionary measures are necessary."
Danley was struck by Penny's first pitch of the fourth inning, which Gold Glove catcher Russell Martin completely missed because of a botched sign. The game was delayed for 18 minutes, with Danley lying nearly motionless behind home plate before being put on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance.
"It's great news," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Sunday. "His family was here and everything, which was good. I mean, that's better than being across the country and getting information that scares the hell out of you. I saw Brad go into the back of the ambulance and say something to his mom, and I know that Russell felt badly about it. But it's just one of those things. It's unfortunate, but you can't really blame anybody for it."
"It sounded like he got hit with a Mike Tyson uppercut," Martin said after Saturday's game. "I was just hoping he was all right. That ball hit him square in the mask. He probably got a concussion. I was just hoping that he was still breathing. I told him 'I'm sorry' a couple of times, but I don't know if he heard me."
Mitch Muchlinski, in his fourth year as a vacation replacement ump with about 75-80 games of regular season experience under his belt, was summoned from Las Vegas, where he was working a minor league series, to replace Danley in the finale of the Dodgers-Colorado Rockies series.
Danley has been a big league umpire since 1998. He has worked in four division series, the 2007 AL Championship Series and the 2007 All-Star Game. He played college baseball at San Diego State, where he was a teammate of Tony Gwynn.
"It was scary when it happened," Gibson said. "But like I said last night, I can't thank the Dodgers and their staff enough for what they did and the precautionary measures they took and getting me to the hospital last night so that I could check on him."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press