The Athletics are taking it one step at a time with low Class A Kane County righthander Craig Italianoâ€™s recovery.
The 2005 second-round pick was struck by a line drive in the forehead off the bat of Wisconsin shortstop Carlos Triunfel in the top of the third inning on Monday, and spent three days in a Chicago hospital before being released Thursday evening.
The Cleveland native sustained a slight fracture to his skull, and is expected to miss at least two months, but likely will be out for the remainder of the season.
“There are still decisions to be made by our medical personnel as to the length of time he will miss and the exact protocol for his rehab,” Athletics farm director Keith Lieppmann said. “He will probably stay in the Chicago area until there is a final recommendation on the proper care and rehab for his injury.”
It was the ugliest such event to happen in the minors since 2004, when Pirates lefthander Paul Maholm was hit in the face with a line drive while pitching at low Class A Hickory.
Italiano, whose fastball tops out in the low 90s, never had time to react to the ball off Triunfelâ€™s bat. According to the Beacon (Illinois) News, the ball hit Italiano so hard that it wound up in the Kane County dugout. The 20-year-old righthander was laying face-down to the left side of the mound as everyoneâ€”coaches, trainers and all the infieldersâ€”raced to his assist him.
“It felt like everything was in slow motion because I was right there (to see it),” catcher Jake Smith told the paper. “It was pretty tough to watch that.”
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