Damon hospitalized after collision
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon was kept overnight in an Oakland hospital after being knocked unconscious in a head-to-head collision with second baseman Damian Jackson in the seventh inning of last night's Division Series game.
Damon sustained a concussion, according to team doctor Bill Morgan, but his CAT scan was negative and other tests were normal. Because of his condition, Damon could not fly with the team last night -- trainer Jim Rowe remained with him -- but it was possible he would be able to travel later today to New York, where the Sox will begin the American League Championship Series tomorrow against the Yankees.
"He had a pretty good concussion," Morgan said. "He'll have a neurological examination tomorrow."
Morgan estimated that Damon was unconscious for about three or four minutes, but then was awake and alert. Damon was fitted with a neck brace, placed on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital. He lifted his right hand to wave as he was being lifted into the ambulance.
The collision occured when Jermaine Dye lifted a pop fly into shallow center. Jackson, who had entered the game an inning earlier as a defensive replacement for Todd Walker, sprinted into the outfield in pursuit, while Damon came charging in, calling for the ball. The ball had just landed in Jackson's outstretched glove when the players converged, and the right side of Jackson's head squarely struck Damon's head, also on the right side.
The ball popped out of Jackson's glove, and both players lay prone as shortstop Nomar Garciaparra retrieved the ball and threw Dye out at second as he attempted to advance, third baseman Bill Mueller taking Garciaparra's throw, ending the inning.
Every Sox player on the field, including starting pitcher Pedro Martinez, gathered around their fallen teammates, as manager Grady Little, the trainers, and Morgan made their way to the scene. Jackson came to his feet first. Damon appeared to regain consciousness a couple of minutes after the collision, and could be seen speaking with medical personnel.
Jackson, meanwhile, was assisted off the field by DH David Ortiz and first base coach Dallas Williams. As the men approached the dugout, Jackson said, a spectator shouted something to him. "They were saying something about Damian this or something," Jackson said. "That's bad timing. Terrible timing. That's not [sportsmanship]. I live in the Bay area, but I was ashamed to call myself a Bay area resident."
Ortiz walked toward the spectator, followed by a half-dozen teammates, before pitching coach Dave Wallace interceded and pulled Ortiz away from the scene. A security guard applied a headlock on the spectator and took him away.
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