Colorado pitching prospect Jayson Aquino was struck in the head by a line drive in the first at-bat of an intrasquad game at the Rockies' Spring Training facilities in Scottsdale, Ariz on Thursday.
The 21-year-old left-hander, Colorado's No. 12 prospect last year, was struck by a shot off the bat of Rafael Ynoa. He remained conscious and was able to walk off the field unassisted. The team sent him to a local hospital to be evaluated for a concussion.
"I couldn't tell if it hit his glove first, but looking at the replay, it hit him in the head and he kind of rolled with it," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I wouldn't even call it a glancing blow. It got him pretty good. That was scary."
Aquino went 0-10 with a 4.34 ERA over 15 games -- 14 starts -- last year between short-season Tri-City in the Northwest League and Class A Asheville of the South Atlantic League. Known for his command of his offspeed pitches, he struck out 73 while walking just 26 in 87 innings during his first full pro season.
"He dominated the Dominican Summer League at a very young age, came over here and was somewhat shell-shocked by the United States and all the changes that are involved, so there has been a great deal of growth there in a two-year period," Rockies director of player development Jeff Bridich recently told MLB.com.
Major League Baseball approved an optional padded hat for pitchers in late January. There are no plans to require Minor League pitchers to wear them.