Firework explodes near infielder's face
ORLANDO -- Toronto Blue Jays infielder Edwin Encarnacion was released Saturday from a Miami hospital after being treated for minor facial injuries caused by fireworks during the New Year's festivities in his native Dominican Republic.
Encarnacion suffered first- and second-degree burns in the forehead and the right side of his face when a rocket firecracker hit him in the jaw and exploded near his mouth while celebrating with family in his home of La Romana.
"Thank God everything is OK with my face. I don't have any fractures or serious injuries and I won't need any kind of surgery," Encarnacion told ESPNdeportes.com on the phone while leaving Jackson Memorial Hospital.
According to Encarnacion, one of his brothers lit a rocket firecracker and instead of flying upwards it moved laterally, hitting Encarnacion.
"The doctors say that I'll have to spend one week out of the sun, but that I'll be able to work out without any problems in two weeks," Encarnacion said.
Encarnacion was initially treated in a Dominican emergency clinic and then transferred to Miami on Friday evening alongside his fiancee, Jennifer Pena, the eldest daughter of Yankees' bench coach Tony Pena.
"I was treated very well in Dominican Republic, but when the doctors started talking about facial surgery, I called my agent Paul Kinzer to get a private air charter and take me to a hospital that specialized in burns," Encarnacion explained.
Encarnacion, who will turn 27 next week, hit .225 with 13 HRs and 39 RBIs in 85 games with Cincinnati and Toronto in 2009.
"The kid is well. He was taken to the United States for precaution," Pena said from Santo Domingo.
Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.