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Rafael Soriano hit in the head by a wicked line drive

His Name Is Dan Uggla

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Soriano hospitalized with concussion

Seattle reliever hit with line drive, but early tests 'encouraging'


SEATTLE -- Seattle Mariners pitcher Rafael Soriano sustained a concussion Tuesday at Safeco Field when he was hit behind the right ear by a line drive off the bat of the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero.


Soriano was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was to remain for the night, though the initial reports from team physician Edward Khalfayan were "encouraging."


Soriano received a CT scan and X-ray when he arrived at the hospital. More tests are scheduled for Wednesday.


"The initial information we have is reassuring," Khalfayan said. "He has a closed-head injury. He didn't lose consciousness and was able to move his arms and legs. He has a bad headache. He did not have anything to indicate he had a fracture."


Guerrero's line drive came on the first pitch that Soriano threw with one out in the top of the eighth inning.


Soriano was able to turn his head before contact. He spun around in a half-circle before he fell to the turf, where he clutched his head with both hands. The ball ricocheted into foul territory near the Angels' dugout, where catcher Kenji Johjima retrieved it.


Play immediately stopped as Mariners trainers Rick Griffin and Tom Newberg attended to Soriano, who was also quickly surrounded by his teammates.


"He's a teammate and a friend," said Seattle's Chris Snelling, who hit two home runs in the game. "It makes baseball trivial."


Soriano was eventually fitted with a neck brace and placed on a stretcher for precaution before being taken by a motorized cart to an awaiting ambulance for transport to Harborview.


Seattle manager Mike Hargrove wasn't available to comment after the game, as he left to visit Soriano at the hospital.


A few of his teammates trickled into the clubhouse after the game and, essentially, shared the same sentiments.


"It's the scariest thing in sports," Seattle closer J.J. Putz said. "It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's nauseating. You don't wish that on your worst enemy."


Putz got the final five outs for his 28th save of the season but said it wasn't easy pressing on not knowing the condition of his teammate and friend.


"You see guys get his in the shin, in the body, but I've never seen anything to the head," Putz said. "It's just sickening."


That was the feeling shared by the man who hit the ball -- Guerrero -- who looked visibly upset while standing on first base after the play.


"It's a terrible thing to have happened," he said in a statement. "As soon as I turned around and saw him on the ground, all I could do was pray for him and his family that he will be OK."


Pitcher Jarrod Washburn understands that pitchers run a risk of being hit and that the 60 feet, six inches from the batter's box to the pitching mound can seem insignificant given the exit speed of the ball off the bat.


"It's part of the job," said Washburn, who was relieved by Soriano. "You never want to see anything like that happen. It's the worst I've ever felt after a win. ... I don't really remember pitching."


Soriano entered the game with a 1-2 record and a 2.11 ERA in 52 games this season. He has been Hargrove's primary set-up pitcher, especially in the eighth inning, for Putz. The Mariners won, 6-4.


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