Mitchell injury shades of Herb Score
One of my most vivid memories of first following baseball as a kid was a newspaper photograph on the morning of May 8, 1957 of Indians pitcher Herb Score with blood rolling down his nose after he was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of the Yankees’ Gil McDougald.
That image came to mind in the second inning Monday night at Yankee Stadium when Bryan Mitchell fell to the ground on the mound after being struck in the head by a line drive by the Twins’ Eduardo Nunez that went into center field for an RBI single.
Mitchell, a spot starter as the Yankees decided to give an extra day’s rest to all the pitchers in the rotation, was on the verge of getting out of a jam that inning. He had a 0-2 count on Nunez, the former Yankees infielder, with runners on first and third and the crowd urging him the righthander on. The liner caught Mitchell flush and he hit the ground as if slugged by an opposing boxer.
The Stadium quieted as manager Joe Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue raced to the mound. Mitchell lay prone with his right hand clutching his forehead. He eventually got to his feet on his own power and walked off the field holding a blood-stained towel over his eyes. A scary moment indeed.
Score back in ’57 was the hottest young pitcher in the game off of two All-Star seasons with strikeouts galore and a promising future ahead of him that was never realized. He was never the same pitcher after the incident. For that matter, neither was McDougald the same player as he was haunted by the damage he had done unwittingly but very graphically.
Mithell was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital where he was diagnosed and treated for a small nasal fracture and released. Yankees medical personnel will continue to monitor Mitchell for potential concussion symptoms.