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Pirates prospect Cole feels 'fine' after line drive at head

June 27, 2012
By Stephen Pianovich, , The Altoona Mirror

HARRISBURG -- Pirates fans can breathe a sigh of relief about prized pitching prospect Gerrit Cole.

Less than 24 hours after being struck with a line drive, Cole said he felt "fine," and tests done on the top pick in last year's draft revealed no broken bones or any sign of a concussion.

"I'm doing all right," Cole said after the Curve's afternoon loss to Harrisburg on Wednesday. "The CT scans and MRIs are negative, so that's good."

Cole took a blow to the face in the form of a line drive off the bat of Harrisburg's Destin Hood in the first inning Tuesday night. Though he faced three more batters and finished the inning, Cole was pulled and then transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

When asked if the ball deflected off his glove before hitting him, Cole wasn't sure, so he asked across the clubhouse to catcher Ramon Cabrera, who shook his head "no." Cole, who seemed very composed when talking about the incident, added Tuesday's scary moment was the first time he had been hit by a line drive on the mound.

Curve manager P.J. Forbes said Tuesday that Cole was not happy after being told he was done after one inning, but on Wednesday, Cole said his early exit was the "right call."

"The adrenaline was keeping me going [for the rest of the first inning]," Cole said. "Then when I came in the dugout, it started to swell up. So we figured I probably should come out."

Cole was almost hit again in the bottom of the first as Harrisburg's Sean Nicol hit a ball at the right-hander just two batters after Hood's comebacker. This one did not hit Cole, however, and it just grazed off his glove.

"That one wasn't hit as hard. I was a little mad because I flinched pretty bad on that," Cole said. "And if I didn't flinch I probably would've had it."

Tuesday's start for Cole was just his second for the Curve and his first Double-A start on the road. He ended throwing only the first inning while allowing three runs on five hits (all singles), striking out two and making 33 pitches (22 strikes).

Cole's first start for the Curve went much smoother as he gave up two runs in five innings and struck out six against New Britain on June 20.

The next start for Cole, who was rated as the 12th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America before the season, is still up in the air. If he stays on his current six-day rotation, he would be scheduled to start Monday at Binghamton.

"That'll come from how he feels and all of the tests," Forbes said on if Cole will be able to make his next start. "We're obviously going to err on the side of caution there and let that play itself out."

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