04/21/09 9:05 PM ET
O's send Freel to DL, recall Montanez
Utilityman hit in head by pickoff throw in game at Boston
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
Baltimore utilityman Ryan Freel was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with an unspecified head injury one day after he was hit in the head by an errant pickoff throw. Freel, who has had multiple concussions in the past, said he never lost consciousness and that he doesn't feel any ill effects this time.
"I felt a little dizzy, but I never really lost consciousness," he said. "I was coherent the whole time. I've blacked out and woken up and had the best sleep of my life where I just didn't remember what happened or couldn't see straight. This was totally different. It made me a little woozy, but I didn't get knocked out."
Freel lay motionless and facedown on the Fenway turf for quite some time after the unfortunate play, which happened early in Monday's game. The veteran had been taking a lead off second base, and he slid back headfirst and was hit in the side of the helmet by an overhand toss from Boston starter Justin Masterson.
The Orioles tended to him on the field and wound up taking him to a Boston hospital, where he got a CT scan and stayed the night under observation. Freel rejoined his teammates on Tuesday and said that he felt fine and capable of playing within a few days, but he also said he understood the reason for the team's caution.
"I didn't want to go on the DL -- of course not. But I think with my history with concussions, that's what hurt me," Freel said. "With some of the things that have happened to this organization, they take this real seriously. I didn't want to go on the DL, but I think we're short with [Adam Jones] being hurt. And again, my history reflected on what happened with me going on the disabled list so fast. I wasn't happy with it, but I've got to do what I've got to do."
Freel, who last had a concussion two years ago when he collided with fellow Cincinnati outfielder Norris Hopper, was replaced by outfielder Lou Montanez. The Orioles recalled Montanez to help cover for Jones, who was missed Monday's game and was a late scratch Tuesday due to a tight right hamstring.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said he wasn't sure of the exact diagnosis on Freel, and he wanted to make clear that the Orioles have a responsibility to treat any head injury as seriously as they can.
"All that I am at liberty to tell you is that it is a head injury and that is how it is being classified," said Trembley. "[Head athletic trainer] Richie Bancells told me when he went out there he was conscious. But I am not at liberty to say if it was a concussion or not. That would have to come from the doctor on that."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.