Hiroki Kuroda raises his arms as he's carted off the field after being hit in the head with a line drive Saturday night. Below, he lies on the mound as his teammates and trainers look on. (AP photos)
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Arizona Diamondbacks pinch-hitter Rusty Ryal Saturday night and was carted off the field.
The ball hit the right-hander on the right side of the head and rocketed into foul territory. The 34-year-old was placed on a stretcher and taken off the field, but was able to raise both of his arms as he exited.
After the game, Dodgers trainer Stan Conte was quoted saying a CT scan of Kuroda's head "came back negative, no fracture, no bleeding. The doctors feel very, very good and, in fact, the doctors at the hospital didn't even want to keep him overnight, but we thought it would be best just to make sure."
Ryal was awarded a ground-rule double and James McDonald relieved Kuroda.
"It was just shocking," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "It certainly caught everybody off guard."
Ryal stopped at first base, then returned to the Arizona dugout while Kuroda was being treated on the mound.
"You get that sick feeling in your stomach," said Ryal, playing in his fifth major league game. "I was just scared. I'm sure everyone else in the stadium, probably even his teammates, have got to be feeling pretty gut-wrenching about it."
Ryal said he sent a message to the Dodgers' clubhouse wishing Kuroda a speedy recovery.
"One of the first things he asked out there was if anybody caught the ball out there, if it was an out," Conte said. "Amazingly, things look really pretty good. The fact that he didn't lose consciousness is a very good sign."
Conte said the club decided to keep Kuroda at the hospital as a precaution.
"We worry about, even though there's no bleeding now, that there could be in the next 12, 14 hours," Conte said. "That's why we want to keep him at the hospital. The first 12-to-24 hours is important. The doctors feel very, very good."