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Ramon Del Orbe, the Grasshoppers pitcher who suffered a fractured skull when hit by a line drive on Aug. 13, has been moved to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.
The transfer was done on Thursday afternoon on a special medical flight with trained personnel. Jackson Memorial is the hospital for the University of Miami School of Medicine.
Del Orbe underwent brain surgery in Charleston, WV, two days after he was struck while pitching against the West Virginia Power. A piece of his skull was removed during surgery and he will require a second surgery to either re-attach that piece or cover the area with a plate. It is not yet known when that surgery will occur.
The 21-year-old right-hander had a 5-8 record with a 4.75 ERA, 41 walks and 77 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings pitched. He was pitching in the sixth inning against West Virginia when he was struck near the right temple by a line drive off the bat of the Power's Josh Bell. Paramedics worked carefully, because of the nature of the injury, and he was eventually moved by ambulance to a hospital across the street from the ball park.
After the team left for Greensboro, Hoppers trainer Ben Cates stayed with Del Orbe and was joined by Bobby Ramos, the Marlins coordinator for Latin players.
"He seems to be doing really, really well," Cates said. "He was alert, talking, joking and in good spirits. He was beginning to do some daily things without assistance."
Cates spent a week in Charleston, leaving Wednesday night and rejoining the Hoppers in time for Thursday's game in NewBridge Bank Park against Delmarva. The club is now in Hagerstown, Md. Ramos stayed with Del Orbe until the special flight left Thursday for Miami.
How long Del Orbe will be in Miami is uncertain. The Marlins are dong paperwork so his parents, who live in Cotui, Dominican Republic, can spent some time with him.
Whether or not Del Orbe will eventually be able to resume his career is purely speculative at this point.
"I wouldn't rule it out," Cates said, "but it's going to be very difficult. It's way to early to tell. As an organization, the first thing we want to see is his return to normal functions."