04/11/12 6:51 PM ET
Hellickson OK after getting hit in head by ball
Rays right-hander struck while throwing in bullpen during BP
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Hellickson had a little swelling around his left eye, and he will make a return visit to nearby Harper Hospital on Thursday for a final checkup for a concussion, but he felt he had good luck on his side.
The Tigers were taking batting practice prior to Wednesday afternoon's game. Hellickson, who picked up his first win of the season Sunday against the Yankees, only had a few pitches left in his bullpen session when a ball sailed toward the bullpen, just past the wall in left field.
"I was just throwing my bullpen and heard a 'Heads up,' and thank God I put my head down and I had my hat on," said Hellickson from inside the visitors' clubhouse after the game. "Then the ball hit the cap before it got me about right here [pointing to the area that was hit]. Then I went down."
Hellickson said he didn't remember falling to the ground, so he figured that he was out for "maybe three or four seconds." Once he regained consciousness, he saw David Price.
"That's the first face I saw," Hellickson said. "I could hear [pitching coach Jim Hickey] and [bullpen coach Stan Boroski] telling me to stay down."
Hellickson said he wasn't in a lot of pain.
"I knew it got the hat first," Hellickson said. "I just had a little headache. I was a little dizzy. ... For me, I knew it got the bill before it got my eye. No one else saw that, so I think it was more scary [for them] than anything. Once I realized I was fine, it was all right."
Boroski described what happened.
"He went down," Boroski said. "The paramedics got out there really quick. The guard out there radioed EMT and they got out there within two minutes. They had him talking, answering questions, he knew what day it was. He knew what the team's record was. He knew what he was doing right before he was hit."
Hellickson smiled when asked about the questions medical personnel asked him to answer.
"My birthday, who we're playing, the year," Hellickson said. "And then the concussion questions I probably couldn't have gotten right on my best day."
Hellickson went to Harper Hospital for observation and myriad tests that took approximately two hours.
"I got a CAT scan and just did a bunch of balancing stuff," Hellickson said. "Strength stuff, made sure my neck was all right -- that was about it."
Hellickson added: "I feel normal now. It feels swollen."
Hickey explained that throwing a bullpen session usually doesn't happen during batting practice "because you're under fire."
"But when you have a day like this, going out there to throw a bullpen at 9:45 a.m. wouldn't have been very productive," Hickey said. "Also, most places, the bullpen has some kind of netting, too. It's extremely rare."
Hellickson is scheduled to make his next start Saturday against the Red Sox in Boston. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he did not know what the team would do if the right-hander is not able to make his start.
Hellickson had a strong opinion regarding the start: "I'll be out there Saturday."
Meanwhile, don't look for Hellickson to be changing his hat any time soon.
"I found my new lucky hat, I know that," he said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.