Last night’s Durham Bulls’ game featured one of the more frightening moments in recent baseball memory. Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Tyler Zombro was struck in the head by a comebacker to the mound, dropping instantly. He was shaking uncontrollably on the mound for several minutes before being taken off the field on a stretcher. The game, which was in the eighth inning, was called off following that injury.
The Rays provided an update on Zombro’s condition on Friday morning. While he remains hospitalized, he is fortunately in stable condition.
Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer Tyler Zombro fortunate
A line drive right back through the box is the biggest nightmare for any pitcher. With batters swinging harder than ever, a focus on exit velocity, and pitchers focusing on improving their own velocity, pitchers have even less time to react.
We have seen how much of an impact being hit in the face by a line drive can have on a pitcher. The likes of Bryce Florie, Herb Score, and Kazuhisa Ishii were never the same after their own injuries. The ball doesn’t even need to hit the pitcher in the head to have a devastating impact; Dizzy Dean‘s career was ruined by a comebacker off his foot in the All Star Game when he adjusted his pitching motion to compensate and ruined his arm.
The Rays certainly hope that will not be the case with Zombro. He had posted a solid 3.18 ERA and a 1.412 WHiP over his 11.1 innings, striking out nine batters with just one walk. After missing the entire 2020 season, Zombro was still working his way back into shape, but had been pitching reasonably well.
Obviously, the most important thing is that Zombro emerges from this incident with his health intact. His convulsions, and the way he immediately dropped face first on the mound, were horrifying to watch. The fact that he is currently in stable condition is a miracle of itself.
Tampa Bay Rays minor league Tyler Zombro is currently in stable condition after being hit in the face with a line drive. He is fortunate to being doing so well already.