Work in Sports
Mercker hospitalized with hematoma
Angels starter in intensive care with blood clot in brain
Posted: Friday May 12, 2000 11:35 PM
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Angels pitcher Kent Mercker was in intensive care Friday after being hospitalized for bleeding in his brain. He had left Anaheim's game a night earlier complaining of headaches and dizziness.
Team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum, who visited Mercker early Friday evening, said the pitcher was alert and completely coherent and that the bleeding had stopped.
Mercker, 32, was hospitalized late Thursday night and will remain in intensive care at UC-Irvine Medical Center throughout the weekend for further observation and evaluation.
John Kusske, head of neurologic surgery at the hospital, said test results indicated there was bleeding within the brain. The cause was not determined and further tests will be conducted.
Angels general manager Bill Stoneman, pitcher Kent Bottenfield -- a longtime friend of Mercker's and teammate in St. Louis -- accompanied Yocum to the hospital.
"He was happy to see us, especially Kent Bottenfield," Stoneman said. "We all chatted and he chatted very coherently. Although he was tired, he was in a lot better shape than I expected."
Asked if he thought Mercker's career was threatened, Yocum said that was a possibility as with any serious injury, "But I see no real ominous signs at this point."
Yocum, the Angels' doctor for 23 season, said he did not remember a baseball player ever having a similar problem. He also said that, while the neurologists still haven't determined the cause of Mercker's bleeding, such an incident sometimes happens to an individual once and does not recur.
Mercker, making his second start of the season, threw 30 pitches against Texas on Thursday night before sinking to one knee and leaving the game under his own power.
The 12-year veteran, who pitched a no-hitter for Atlanta on April 8, 1994, at Los Angeles, is 0-1 with a 5.16 ERA.
Mercker appeared to be in great pain as he attempted to pitch, and the game was halted briefly with in the second inning, then stopped five pitches later as he bent over and rested on one knee.
Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia found it difficult to talk anything else during Friday's batting practice.
"When something like this happens, you are talking about a guy in his early thirties having a problem like this, that transcends everything that happens on a baseball field and makes everything else trivial," Scioscia said. "This is a very scary situation for everybody.
"Everyone in the medical department was very concerned last night -- and when they are concerned, you know it's something that has to be dealt with quickly. It hits home and is scary for a number of reasons. The uncertainty of what caused it causes uneasiness for Kent and all of us."
Mercker's wife, Julie, was scheduled to fly in from their home in Dublin, Ohio, on Saturday.
Stoneman said the pitcher's wife had been very worried, but "By the time I had talked with her and she had talked with the neurosurgeon and Dr. Yocum, she was feeling more comfortable."
Mercker signed as a minor league free agent with the Angels last Jan. 26. He also has played for Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Boston.
He was placed on the disabled list Friday evening.