CHICAGO -- With a nod to the increased and ongoing awareness of concussions in baseball and the Twins' organization, Minnesota placed catcher Ryan Doumit on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Friday morning.
As expected, the Twins returned Josh Willingham from his rehab assignment a day early to assume Doumit's spot on the active roster.
Doumit left Wednesday's loss to the Royals with concussion-like symptoms, saying he initially sustained the injury when he took a foul tip off his mask in the ninth inning of Sunday's game against the Astros. A number of factors -- including how he felt on the plane ride to Kansas City, and the long-term implication of the injury -- led to the decision.
"It's something, as we've talked about, that everybody understands a little bit more about now and they're taking the right steps to make sure we protect these guys, because for however long this game's been played, concussions weren't really talked about a whole heck of a lot," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "And now it's one of those things baseball's learned a whole lot more about and is still learning about, and we're trying to protect these players, as is every sport."
The move is retroactive to Thursday. Doumit told Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony that he had no issues on the flight to Chicago, and he told reporters Friday that he felt fine. He'll take a few days off from baseball activities, and Antony said early indications are that Doumit should be back when the seven-day period expires.
"I understand the seriousness of concussions," Doumit said. "It's a necessary evil, the seven days, nobody wants to go on the disabled list. If I had it my way, I wouldn't want to go. But I understand the process. After seven days, I should be fine."
Tigers catcher Alex Avila was tested for a concussion after taking a foul ball in the mask on Thursday night, but was cleared to join the team in New York. Indians catcher Carlos Santana had the same issue last year, and Royals catcher Salvador Perez is on the seven-day DL right now.
"It's just the hazard of that position," Antony said, adding it's the catcher's preference to what kind of mask they wear. "You're going to get foul tips and you're going to get your bell rung on those sometimes."
Doumit said he's taken "hundreds" of balls off his mask over the course of his career and has felt dinged up many times. He said he went on the DL with a concussion in 2010, which came after a few foul tips and home-plate collisions added up.
The same season Doumit missed time on the DL with a concussion, teammate Justin Morneau was injured in a July 7 collision against the Blue Jays and didn't play the rest of the year because of concussion-like symptoms. And years before that, Gardenhire said, it wasn't uncommon for players to play through them.
"I got knocked out three times in games and played," Gardenhire said. "I finished a game, I got knocked out at home plate and played. They told me I had a concussion, and I said, 'OK,' and I played. The doctor met me at home plate and I played the rest of the game. I didn't have a choice. That's just the way that it was. We played."