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Rolen exits after getting hit by pitch06/01/2004 7:56 PM ET
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen was removed from the Cardinals' game against the Pirates in the first inning on Tuesday night after being hit by a pitch. Rolen was diagnosed with a mild concussion, according to team trainer Barry Weinberg.
"He was examined by the team doctors here [at PNC Park], so we'll observe him in the next 24 hours and see how he is," Weinberg said. "It will be a day-to-day situation. You can call it a mild concussion."
Rolen, the Major Leagues' RBI leader with 53, was hit on his forehead by a Ryan Vogelsong pitch in the top of the first inning. He got up and took his base, and eventually came around to score, but was replaced at third base by Hector Luna in the bottom of the first.
He spoke at length with reporters at his locker after the game, though he was nursing a headache.
"I didn't see the ball," said Rolen. "He was throwing 94 or 95, and at that time of day it's always tough to see the ball in the first inning with the sun out there and the shadows. ... I had no chance to even soften the blow by getting out of the way. I just took it right in the head. It surprised me. I heard it."
Manager Tony La Russa was irked that Vogelsong's pitch came so high and tight, though he did not suggest that the right-hander had any intent to injure his cleanup hitter.
"He wasn't trying to do it on purpose," said La Russa. "He went out and apologized to him. But it doesn't make any difference. Any time you're in the Major Leagues and you throw the ball inside, you've got to get it below the shoulders. That's inexcusable.
"It just doesn't look really good when he hits a three-run homer yesterday and he might hit a three-run homer against the kid. It just doesn't look right, although he apologized to him when he was walking to first base. But it doesn't make any difference. The ball was up there. You want to go inside, get the ball down."
Rolen, meanwhile, had only good things to say about Vogelsong.
"I tell you what, I'm a Vogelsong fan now," he said. "He came out of the game and called over to the clubhouse and asked if I was all right and apologized. That's first-class right there. That's very professional. Very, very classy. I'm a fan of his."
Said Vogelsong: "I was just trying to throw a good fastball in there to try to get a double play. He knows it wasn't intentional. I talked to him. It was definitely not intentional. I hate to see it happen."
Soft-spoken as always, Rolen was entirely lucid in the clubhouse, though he was sporting a notable welt on his forehead. He somewhat proudly noted the obvious scuff mark on his batting helmet where the ball knocked him.
Rolen has not missed a game for St. Louis this season and hasn't been on the disabled list since 2000, when he suffered a sprained ankle as a member of the Phillies.
A five-time Gold Glover, Rolen is hitting .348 with a .407 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage. He has hit 13 homers and scored 31 runs.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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