Nippert OK, but agrees with caution
DETROIT — Texas Rangers pitcher Dustin Nippert might have been the calmest person at Comerica Park after he was hit in the head by a batted ball on Monday night.
Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson’s line drive sent Nippert crumbling to the ground and a hush fell over the stadium as players and fans feared he had been seriously injured.
Nippert, though, knew that he was OK.
“It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to get worried,” he said. “I was stunned, and then I was surrounded by people.”
Rangers catcher Matt Treanor was the first to arrive, followed quickly by his teammates and the Texas training staff. Nippert quickly sat up, and didn’t even want to leave the game.
“When they let me stand up, they started pushing me toward the dugout,” he said. “I was waiting for them to let me throw a couple pitches to see if I was OK, but they didn’t give me a chance.”
Nippert, who never lost consciousness, was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary CT scan, but was back at the team hotel before the Rangers won the 14-inning game at 11:58 p.m..
“They told me that all the tests were normal — I don’t have a concussion, just some bruises and a lump,” he said. “I don’t even really have a headache. The only thing is that I get dizzy when I stand up, and they said that was normal and would go away in a day or two.”
Despite Nippert’s relatively mild injuries, he agreed with the team’s decision to put him on the 15-day disabled list.
“This isn’t like having a sore elbow or shoulder — this is my brain we’re talking about,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with taking things slowly.”
The Rangers were forced into the move because they used seven pitchers Monday.
“We needed some help in the bullpen, and they told us that Dustin should probably take four or five days off, so we decided to do the smart thing and be extremely cautious with him,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
One of the happiest people with the outcome was Jackson, who visited Nippert in the clubhouse before Tuesday’s game. He ended up on second after the ball ricocheted off Nippert’s head and into shallow left field for a double.
“It is part of the game, but you never want to see that happen,” Jackson said Monday night. “It’s weird, because you want to stop and check on him, but you have to keep running.”
Nippert was replaced by Darren O’Day.
“That was really tough, because you are worried about your buddy, and then you’ve got to try to get ready to pitch,” O’Day said. “I didn’t even know how he was until after the inning, so I had all kinds of things going through my mind. Finally, after the inning, when I got back in the dugout, they told me he was talking and doing OK.”
Texas recalled reliever Doug Mathis from Triple-A Oklahoma City to replace Nippert. Mathis, who is 1-1 with a 6.98 ERA this season for the Rangers, is capable of pitching multiple innings.