ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ is responsive after being hit in the head by a line drive and could be released from a Florida hospital on Wednesday.

“He was responsive and doing well after suffering a head contusion and a laceration to his left ear,” the team said in a statement.

Happ was undergoing further tests Wednesday after being taken to Bayfront Medical Center on Tuesday night when he was injured during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays said they anticipate Happ would be released later Wednesday after more tests.

Happ’s frightening injury Tuesday night at Tropicana Field left players on both teams shaken and revived questions about whether Major League Baseball is doing enough to protect pitchers who often find themselves in harm’s way on the mound.

He raised his glove in front of his face as quickly as he could, a futile attempt to shield himself from the batted ball headed straight for his temple.

It was too late. Thwack!

The sickening sound of a sharply hit baseball striking the Toronto pitcher’s skull could be heard all the way up in the press box.

And then, sheer silence.

Happ was hit squarely on the left side of his head by Desmond Jennings’ second-inning liner during Toronto’s 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The left-hander was immobilized on a backboard, lifted onto a stretcher and wheeled off the field.


AP Sports Writers Kristie Rieken in Houston, Arnie Stapleton in Denver and Joe Kay in Cincinnati, and AP freelancers Mark Didtler and Dick Scanlon in St. Petersburg, Fla., John Perrotto in Pittsburgh and Dave Boehler in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

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