LAKELAND, Fla. — Blue Jays left-hander TJ House was hit in the head by a line drive during the ninth inning of Toronto’s 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers Friday afternoon and left in an ambulance. He was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
The comebacker came off the bat of John Hicks, struck House on the back-right side of the head and ricocheted straight up in the air. The ball went so far up that Blue Jays catcher Mike Ohlman was able to run to the mound and catch it before it hit the ground.
House immediately dropped to the mound and lay on his stomach kicking his feet. On-field players gathered around House as trainers sprinted to the mound. According to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, House was "bleeding quite a bit."
"He was conscious and talking to his trainers," Ausmus said. "His face was in his glove, there was blood on his face, blood in his glove, everything."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says that House was talking while he was down and indicated that "he could feel everything."
"I don’t want to go into all the specifics," Gibbons said. "He took a good shot."
House remained on his stomach for 20 minutes receiving treatment as a small fire department vehicle and an ambulance drove onto the field. Eventually, House was flipped over, strapped to a backboard and placed on a stretcher. He gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was loaded into the ambulance.
"It’s scary," Gibbons said. "Guy smokes it and it can be bad. Hopefully he’s alright."
After House was taken away, Ausmus and Gibbons conferred with umpires Joe West and Jerry Layne, and decided it was best to call the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"I just said to Gibby, ‘We don’t need to finish this,’" Ausmus said. "Everyone was in agreement at that point. With an out left in an exhibition game, not to mention you were standing out there for however long, 20 minutes or so—there was no need to finish."
Communications representatives for the Tigers indicated the incident left Hicks very shaken and that he would prefer not to speak to the media.
“I think players realize in the game of baseball, with the velocity coming off the bat, even the velocity coming out of the pitcher’s hand, anything around the head area could be debilitating—or even deadly," Ausmus said. "It hit him hard and square. It was a line drive and it went up in the air probably 30 feet."
House is a three-year MLB veteran, having thrown 117.2 big league innings since 2014 for the Cleveland Indians. He signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays this December.