CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Blue Jays outfielder Corey Patterson felt a sense of relief when he woke up Saturday morning with no major effects from getting hit in the head the night before in Fort Myers, Fla.
Patterson was beaned in the back of his helmet by a high-90s fastball from Red Sox right-hander Daniel Bard. Patterson dropped to the ground immediately after being hit and remained there for several minutes.
There was an initial concern that he may have suffered a concussion, but a CT scan didn't reveal any damage.
"I seem to be doing OK," Patterson said. "I got checked out at the hospital last night and the doctor said everything looked fine. There weren't any concussion symptoms, but it doesn't mean that it can't evolve into that. Just have to keep an eye on it and make sure I'm in regular contact with our trainers.
"But I was definitely happy I was able to get up and at least walk off the field."
2010 Spring Training - Major League Baseball
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He felt "a little out of it" Saturday morning but did not have a headache. The fact that he was able to leave the field under his own power also was an encouraging sign.
"I thought I was going to pass out or black out at any point in time," Patterson said. "I was waiting for that to happen, but I was able to stay coherent. Our trainer came out and I was able to respond and give him the appropriate answers.
"So that was good, but in the back of my mind I was wondering how I would feel the next day. I surprisingly feel OK under the circumstances, so we're just going to monitor it as a day-to-day thing."
Bard appeared visibly concerned following the at-bat. He momentarily put his hands on his head and monitored Patterson's condition from the mound. When Toronto's center fielder got off the ground, Bard applauded along with the fans.
There was no doubt in Patterson's mind that the pitch was completely accidental. The two even chatted on the phone about it shortly after the game.
"It definitely wasn't on purpose," said Patterson, who hit .269 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs last season. "Daniel called to check in on me. He said he wanted to check and see how I was doing and said hopefully it wouldn't delay any start to my season.
"He said it wasn't on purpose, and I obviously knew that. I've been playing long enough now to know when guys get hit on purpose. I hear he's a good person, nothing bad about him, it's just part of the game, unfortunately."
The scary incident reopened a debate Saturday morning about whether players should be forced to wear Rawlings S100 helmets. It's a bulkier helmet which is designed to withstand pitches of up to 100 mph. The current gear being used by most Major Leaguers reportedly only offers protection up to 70 mph.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is making the switch this year after missing the second half of last season with post-concussion syndrome. He has been vocal in asking other players to make the same decision.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell isn't sure that is a necessary step and feels like most head injuries occur when sliding into second base to break up a double play -- the same scenario in which Morneau was injured last year.
"I know that the helmets everybody wears right now are comfortable," Farrell said. "They're lighter and they [give] the right amount of protection. There are going to be individual cases where someone does suffer a concussion, particularly sliding into second base. That's where we see the most lingering effects, where you get a knee to the head and have the sustained post-concussion symptoms.
"But I think that the helmets that are currently worn provide enough protection."
Patterson signed a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training during the offseason. The native of Atlanta, Ga., was expected to break camp with the Blue Jays as a backup outfielder.
Farrell believes that will still be the case, and in an ideal scenario, Patterson would return to the field Monday. For now, Toronto's manager didn't want to talk about potential replacement candidates.
"Everything points to the fact that Corey is going to be good to go," Farrell said. "If we get into a situation where he is unavailable, there would be further internal conversation. But we haven't talked about the fact that he couldn't go. Fortunately, last night didn't turn out worse than it did."