Clement released from hospital

Clement released from hospital

ST. PETERSBURG -- Red Sox pitcher Matt Clement, who was struck in the head by a line drive in Tuesday's game against the Devil Rays, was released Wednesday from Bayfront Medical Center and was cleared to rejoin the club for the flight home to Boston.

Clement was struck behind his right ear by a line drive off the bat of Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford with one out in the bottom of the third in the Red Sox-Devil Rays game at Tropicana Field.

The drive glanced off Clement's ear and ricocheted into left field. He was down for 11 minutes before leaving the field on a stretcher and being taken to the hospital. A CAT scan Tuesday night was negative.

Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill updated Clement's condition in a statement released Wednesday afternoon:

"Matt stayed in the hospital overnight and underwent further tests and observation this morning. The results of a second CAT scan taken this morning were also negative, and Matt was released from the hospital this afternoon. Matt will accompany the team back to Boston tonight and be evaluated by our medical staff upon his return."

Manager Terry Francona, joined by pitching coach Dave Wallace and bench coach Brad Mills, visited Clement at the hospital following the game.

"He was in really good spirits and he looked a little groggy, but he was doing OK," Francona said before Wednesday afternoon's game. "He had a little cut on his ear, but I don't think it was that swollen. It was amazing, his ear was red. I was shocked."

Clement, who never lost consciousness, was not diagnosed with a concussion, Francona said.

"I've never been hit in the head like that, so I can't speak about it with a lot of knowledge; few people can," Francona said. "His son saw it on TV, so put yourself in his shoes. When your family's not here, that's awful."

The Red Sox are idle Thursday, and Francona said the off-day could not have come at a better time.

"We have the ability to finagle with our rotation because of the two off days," he said.

Despite the Red Sox' 10-9 win in 10 innings Tuesday, Francona and most players were less interested in discussing the victory than with Clement's health following the game.

Outfielder Adam Stern, who scored the tying run in the ninth inning, said he saw a similar incident while he was at the University of Nebraska. A teammate was hit and suffered a broken jaw.

"It's just really scary. It's just kind of a bad situation. You never really know what goes on, what happens afterwards," Stern said. "Winning a game is great, but after what happened last night, you just want to make sure your teammate is OK."

Right fielder Trot Nixon, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after straining an oblique in his left side Tuesday, said the team was able to focus during the series finale knowing Clement is healthy.

"Now that we know he's doing well, we can just go out and play," Nixon said. "When someone gets hurt like that, you know, morale's not going to drop. I'm still going to be yelling at people. The only thing that hurts me is that I can't go out there and compete."

Clement made an appearance in the clubhouse in the middle of Wednesday's game against the Devil Rays, providing a moral boost to teammates.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Clement described the experience.

"I knew [Crawford] hit the ball hard off the bat," he said. "I remember it ricocheted off my head. I had a ringing sensation in my ear. I knew to just stay down. ... I wouldn't call it an intense pain -- it was more of a shock.

"It could have been a lot worse," he added. "I'm thankful for the way it happened, if it had to happen. ... I remember the whole thing. I didn't get really scared until I was coming off the field and I started thinking about my wife and kids."

Clement was confident he will not lose time in the rotation.

"Missing starts isn't in my vocabulary," he said. "But I have to be smart -- it is my head ... something you want to be careful with."

Crawford said Wednesday that he could clearly see Clement get hit and had initially thought it was to the face.

"I've never seen anything like that; I hope I don't see it again," he said.

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said he had seen quite a few pitchers get hit over the years.

"It's not fun, but what it tells you is how close the mound is and how defenseless the pitcher is," he said.

Boston right-hander Manny Delcarmen made his Major League debut in the eighth inning Tuesday, and found the injury to Clement to be quite the introduction to the big leagues.

"I was sitting in the bullpen and Curt [Schilling], he sees me sitting here ... and then Clement got hit, and I was kind of like, 'Wow.' I think that's the scariest thing in baseball right now. Curt's just like, 'Keep doing what you're doing, do your breathing, and you'll be fine.'"

ESPN's SportsCenter led its show with Crawford's hit, but Francona said he refused to watch any highlights.

"I saw it today and I didn't want to watch it," he said. "That doesn't do anything for me. I turned away -- I don't want to see that."

Jared S. Hopkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.