Cardinals pitching prospect recovering after by hit by line drive

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – A St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitching prospect is recovering after being hit in the head by a line drive on Tuesday.

Memphis Redbirds pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon had surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. It’s one of the worst injuries than can happen on a baseball diamond.

Video of the incident is disturbing. A line drive struck Poncedeleon and he collapsed to the ground. Dr. Rick Lehman, an orthopedist at the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine, said a medical source told him how Poncedeleon was doing.

“I know quite a bit about it. I think he’s doing okay; he’s expected to live. The surgery went well,” Lehman said.

Lehman said the next questions surround his recovery; will Poncedeleon be okay or will he have to learn to walk and talk again, will bright lights and loud noises bother him?

“It’s almost like a stroke; they get bleeding on the brain,” Lehman said.

The doctor said a device that fits in a baseball cap—an Isoblox—can protect a pitcher’s brain and save lives, but some pitchers won’t wear them.

“They look a little weird, so a lot of pitchers have resisted,” Lehman said.

Former Cardinals pitcher and 101 ESPN broadcaster Brad Thompson said he would not wear one because he thinks it could have affected his pitching physically and mentally.

“Pitchers are especially creatures of habit. This is what I do, this is what I wear, and this is my routine, so like that could throw you off a little bit,” he said.

Thompson said he wouldn’t be against the safety device if it was used first by Little Leaguers so that in 10 or 15 years, it would common for Major League pitchers to wear one.