Jays' Smoral recovering from line drive

Bluefield lefty, '12 first-rounder needs stitches after he's hit near eye

Matthew Smoral is helped by an athletic trainer and coaches after getting hit by a ball Sunday. (JW Gravley)

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com | August 24, 2015 6:48 PM

Blue Jays left-hander Matthew Smoral is recovering after getting hit in the head by a line drive Sunday night.

While pitching for the Rookie-level Bluefield, Smoral was struck in the head by a ball hit by Pulaski's Matt Walsh to start the bottom of the seventh inning during an Appalachian League game. The 21-year-old was taken to the hospital for stitches around his right eye.

Smoral later tweeted to express his appreciation and that he was holding his own.

Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava said the diagnosis for the club's No. 17 prospect looked good and he would be re-evaluated Monday.

"Reports are good so far," LaCava told the National Post.

Smoral was Toronto's Compensation A-Round selection in the 2012 Draft out of Solon High School in Ohio. He's 5-5 with a 4.90 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 93 2/3 career Minor League innings, including 1-0 with a 7.53 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season.

Walsh, a catcher for the Yankees, was understandably troubled by the incident. He was thrown out on the play after Bluefield third baseman Mattingly Romanin picked up the ball and threw to first. The Blue Jays held on for a 1-0 win.

"I absolutely feel bad," Walsh told JW Gravley of 27 Outs Baseball. "Heard he was doing better."

Other players took to Twitter to react to the scary moment on the mound.

"Praying for my man [Smoral]," Romanin wrote. "Never want to see something like that happen to anyone."

"Scariest moment I've ever experienced on a baseball field," wrote Christian Williams, the Blue Jays' 16th-round pick in June. "Prayers with you Smo."

"Everyone pray for Matt Smoral," tweeted fellow Blue Jays reliever Zak Wasilewski. "Have him in your thoughts and prayers."

Last year, Major League Baseball approved a padded hat designed to protect pitchers from getting struck by line drives, although the caps are optional. Mets reliever Alex Torres, now in the Minors with Triple-A Las Vegas, has been the only professional pitcher to use the cap since it was made available.

Danny Wild is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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