NEW YORK – Even a few hours after he took a line drive off his head, Indians pitcher David Huff was cracking jokes and trying to make people laugh.
A day later, he thought he’d be ready to make his next start.
New York’s Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI double off the side of Huff’s head in the third inning of Saturday’s game. The ball bounced into right field and Huff went down and stayed motionless for a while until giving a thumbs up as he was carted off the field.
“Anytime a pitcher gets hit by a line drive, everybody thinks the worst, especially when he’s not moving,” Huff said Sunday. “I just wanted to give a hand wave or some indication that I was all right.”
Huff had more neurological testing done at the ballpark Sunday, and will continue to be evaluated for post-concussive symptoms, which don’t always manifest immediately.
He said he slept well, had no headaches, and basically almost forgot that he had been hit unless he scratched his head on the wrong side.
Cleveland’s medical staff hasn’t decided if Huff is fit to take his next turn in the rotation yet, though Huff said he’s ready to go.
Rodriguez tried to go to the hospital afterward, but Huff was already back in the Indians’ clubhouse, celebrating Cleveland’s come-from-behind 13-11 win.
Instead, he gave Huff a call.
“It was a good conversation,” Huff said. “I was trying to get him to laugh because I know he was pretty struck by that as far as emotionally.”
It was a scary scene. Rodriguez looked stricken, crouching behind the mound as medical staff attended to the fallen pitcher.
Huff said he knew not to move because he may have had a serious head or neck injury. However, he never lost consciousness and told trainers who rushed out to the mound that he wanted them to let his family know he was OK.
“He was conscious, he was alert, he wanted to stand up, but we encouraged him to remain on the ground and motionless until we could evaluate,” Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said.
Huff’s parents and brother were in the stands, and joined him at the hospital.
Soloff pointed out that the ball going so far after hitting Huff was a good sign, meaning less energy was absorbed by Huff’s skull.
Cleveland fell behind 10-4 at one point Saturday, but came back against the Yankees’ bullpen. Huff watched from the hospital.
“It’s funny because we took a lead and we were just about to leave – and you know baseball, guys are superstitious. Maybe I should stay here if we’re going to keep scoring runs.”
Lewis up; Laffey down
Right-handed reliever Jensen Lewis was called up from Columbus before Sunday’s game. Left-handed pitcher Aaron Laffey was sent down so he can build innings in an attempt to join the Indians’ rotation.
• Designated hitter Travis Hafner singled in the first inning Sunday, reaching base for the 20th straight game.
• Shin-Soo Choo was 0-for-4, bringing his slump to 0-for-17.