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Florie hit in face by line drive

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Latest: Saturday September 09, 2000 01:06 AM

  Bryce Florie Bryce Florie nearly knocked down the line drive but couldn't get his glove up in time to prevent from getting hit. AP

BOSTON (AP) -- Red Sox reliever Bryce Florie was struck in the face with a sharp line drive, carted off the field with blood streaming down and taken to a hospital Friday night.

The club wasn't expected to have a report on his condition until Saturday, but team spokesman Kevin Shea said Florie appeared to be hit under the right eye.

"It didn't look good," Shea said.

Florie, hit by Ryan Thompson's liner in the ninth inning of the New York Yankees' 4-0 victory against Boston, never appeared to lose consciousness and was taken to the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, a few miles from Fenway Park.

"I've never seen someone hit that hard in the head," said Boston catcher Jason Varitek, who rushed to the mound. "It shifts you away from worrying about the loss to worrying about our friend and our teammate."

The right-handed Florie started lifting his glove but was struck squarely with two outs in the inning. He immediately dropped to the ground as the ball ricocheted to third baseman Lou Merloni, who threw out Thompson.

"Usually, when you hit a ball, you just take off," Thompson said, "but when I hit that one, I paused."

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The pitcher lay face down, moving his outstretched legs in an up-and-down motion as Boston manager Jimy Williams, trainer Jim Rowe and several players from both teams surrounded him.

"I've never seen that, something like that, up close," Merloni said in Boston's subdued clubhouse. "To hear the sound I heard from third base, it wasn't a good feeling."

After about a minute, Florie sat up as the fans at Fenway Park cheered. His right cheek, nose and upper lip were covered with blood as he wiped it with a towel. At one point, Florie touched his upper lip with his hand, apparently checking for damage.

"It was absolutely horrible," New York's Derek Jeter said. "When you see something like that, you think it could be a life-or-death situation, but it's part of the game."

New York manager Joe Torre recalled the 1957 game in which Yankees infielder Gil McDougald hit a liner off the cheekbone of Cleveland's Herb Score, the AL Rookie of the Year in 1955. Many believe the accident shortened Score's career.

"Tonight, the first thing I remember was the horrible sound," Torre said. "Then I saw Thompson coming to the dugout. I asked him, 'What are you doing here?' And he pointed out to the field. It was really ugly."

Florie, 0-4 this season, entered the game with one out in the ninth and runners at first and third. He got Clay Bellinger to hit into a forceout at home, then walked Jose Vizcaino and allowed a two-run single to Jeter.

Thompson, who stayed in the game after pinch running for Paul O'Neill in the eighth, then hit his wicked liner.

"Over the years I've seen guys get hit, but not like that, not like that," Boston pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said.


 
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