Morneau takes pitch to the head

Morneau takes pitch to the head

SEATTLE -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau was taken to a local hospital Wednesday after being hit in the head by a pitch in the eighth inning of Minnesota's game against the Mariners at Safeco Field.

Morneau underwent a CAT scan test, which came back negative for a concussion or fracture.

"Everything turned out all right," Morneau said after returning from the hosptial. The club delayed its trip out of town briefly so the 23-year-old could join them after being cleared to fly.

Morneau was hurt while facing Seattle lefty reliever Ron Villone with one out and a runner on first in the top of the eighth. As the 0-2 fastball came up and in, he tried to get out of the way, but was struck hard in the right side of the helmet. The sound was audible in the ballpark.

"Unfortunately, things get away like that and it happens," Villone said. "I was in a good situation in a good count, and it just got away."

After collapsing to the ground, Morneau spent several moments face down before receiving medical assistance from Twins trainers. But he was immediately reponsive.

Concerned, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire rushed to home plate after Morneau went down.

"You can get a pretty good feel when you're talking to him and they're talking to him and they ask where he was at," Gardenhire said. "He said, 'I'm on the ground at home plate in Seattle.' I thought he might be OK. I've been hit in the head before and I didn't have those kind of answers that he did today. I thought either he was way smarter than me or that he was OK."

"I wasn't dizzy or anything, so that's good," Morneau said. "I've had a few concussions before. I've been kicked in the back of the head with a hockey skate once."

Besides going 1-for-3 with a run scored in the 4-1 win over the Mariners, Morneau had a large red welt near the temple of his head to show for his day. Once they knew he was OK, teammates did not hold back with the jokes.

"Once I saw he had a little smile on his face, I told him to quit hogging the TV time," said designated hitter Matthew LeCroy, who was on deck behind Morneau at the time. "Hopefully, he's OK. He's a big part of our team."

"You look like you've got another head," closer Joe Nathan joked after Morneau returned. "Your brains are coming out."

"I hope not," Morneau responded.

But bad luck seems to have bitten Morneau plenty since late last season. In August, he was hit in the hand with a fastball from Cleveland lefty C.C. Sabathia. Although diagnosed with a bad bruise, he was sore the rest of the season.

"You start wondering if the ball is chasing him around a little bit," Gardenhire said.

In the offseason, Morneau battled several ailments -- including appendicitis and pneumonia.

It was not clear if Morneau would miss any playing time. But this much was known.

"[Doctors] said I'll have a pretty good headache," Morneau said.

"Hopefully, he'll get up and come back and be ready in a couple of days to play baseball," Gardenhire said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.