Oswalt appears OK after being hit by liner
Phillies right-hander suffers neck bruise, X-rays are negative
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Roy Oswalt suffered the scariest moment of Spring Training on Wednesday at Charlotte Sports Park, but the Phillies think he should be OK.
Oswalt was hit just behind his right ear by a line drive in the fourth inning off the bat of Rays designated hitter Manny Ramirez. Oswalt tumbled to the turf, coming to rest on his back. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, pitching coach Rich Dubee, assistant athletic trainer Mark Andersen and players rushed to his side as they feared the worst for one of their star pitchers.
"Scary," Dubee said.
"Worried?" Manuel said. "You don't have time to worry. What the [heck]? You jump up and run out to the mound. I didn't have time to worry."
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The Phillies think Oswalt should be fine, which is excellent news considering Opening Day is just nine days away. Oswalt suffered a bruised neck, but the Phillies said he never lost consciousness or experienced any dizziness. X-rays and a CT scan returned negative, and those who saw him in the clubhouse said he was coherent.
Teammate Brian Schneider drove Oswalt in Oswalt's truck back to Clearwater.
"It looked bad until you got out there," Dubee said. "I mean, it was still bad. But he responded well."
Oswalt, who eventually walked to the visitors' clubhouse under his own power, told Dubee that he wanted to remain in the game.
"How many pitches have I got?" Oswalt asked.
"Enough for today," Dubee replied.
Before Oswalt left for X-rays and a CT scan, he sat in a chair with an ice pack on his neck, watching the game on TV.
He seemed fine.
Manuel said he thinks Oswalt should make his next start on Monday against the Pirates at Bright House Field. Oswalt threw 57 pitches before he left Wednesday's game. He threw 80 pitches in his previous start, so Dubee thinks Oswalt will be fine for his scheduled April 3 start against the Astros at Citizens Bank Park.
If Oswalt is fine, it is a huge relief for the Phillies. They already have their share of injuries, and the reason everybody considers them favorites to win the National League pennant is because of their strong starting pitching.
Chase Utley is sidelined indefinitely with chronic knee pain. He could miss several months of the 2011 season, which is why the Phillies signed Luis Castillo to a Minor League contract Monday. Domonic Brown broke his right hand earlier this month, which cut short his Spring Training. Placido Polanco has been sidelined since March 15 with a hyperextended left elbow, though he could return to action before the end of the weekend. Brad Lidge pitched in a Minor League game Tuesday after having been sidelined since March 11 with right biceps tendinitis. Lidge is trying to gain velocity on his fastball before Opening Day.
Right-hander Jose Contreras has a corneal abrasion. Shane Victorino suffered a bruised left eye and sore jaw after colliding with Raul Ibanez in the outfield Monday. Both Contreras and Victorino could be back soon.
But none of those injuries -- even Victorino's collision with Ibanez -- compared to Oswalt's scary moment Wednesday.
If the ball had struck Oswalt a few inches higher it could have been worse. If Ramirez had made better contact, it could also have been worse.
"Manny didn't hit the ball very good," Castillo said.
"He didn't really crush it," Manuel said.
Oswalt might have been lucky Wednesday. They hope to know more about his condition Thursday.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.