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Minor league pitcher stable in North Carolina hospital after liner to head

Minor league pitcher Tyler Zombro was kept overnight at a hospital and remains in stable condition after being struck in the head by a line drive Thursday night, a frightening scene that prompted Triple-A Durham to suspend its game.

Zombro, a right-hander in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, was hit by a sharp liner from Norfolk’s Brett Cumberland in the eighth inning. Zombro crumbled to the ground, lay motionless for a moment face down, then began to convulse uncontrollably as teammates and a trainer rushed toward the mound.

“As of this morning, Tyler remains under the care of the nurses and doctors at Duke University Hospital,” the Rays said in a statement Friday. “The updates from overnight have been positive, and he remains in stable condition. We are overwhelmed by the support for Tyler and the wishes for his full and speedy recovery from fans and the baseball community alike. We will provide additional updates as he progresses.”

The Bulls also postponed their scheduled game Friday night.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he spoke with Durham manager Brady Williams on Thursday night.

“Certainly, said it was a pretty jarring experience, maybe the scariest thing he’s witnessed on a baseball field,” Cash said.

“What they witnessed was very scary for a guy they care a lot about,” he added. “Can totally understand if their mind is just not there right now, to postpone a game makes sense for those players.”

Cumberland took a knee near first base while Zombro was tended to. Others did the same across the field, many of them praying. Zombro was carried off on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

“The good news is by all accounts and reports that Tyler is recovering well,” Cash said. “At this point, things are going about as well as we could hope for. That’s tremendous. I’m sure the next 24-48 hours we want to keep hearing that good news, but right now we feel very fortunate and lucky to be where Tyler’s at and just continue to hope for the best for him.”

The 26-year-old Zombro signed as a minor league free agent with Tampa Bay in 2017 after going undrafted out of George Mason. He was appearing in his ninth game this season with the Bulls, entering the night 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA. He has a 2.79 ERA in his minor league career.

The game was called off with Norfolk leading 12-4.

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