09/20/2010 1:56 PM ET
Austin Jackson: Pitch to head scary
Tigers rookie center fielder was hit with fastball in May
When I got hit in the head with a pitch earlier this year, it was scary.
My first thought was that the ball hit me in the eye. Looking back at the replay of it later, the ball seemed to strike the helmet right above the brim. When the pitch came in, I didn't see it until the very last moment. I tried to get out of the way. I guess if there's a silver lining it's that it hit the helmet and not my face.
I only saw the ball for a split second. It was already on me before I could do too much. I think the shadows on the field had something to do with it. I just had trouble picking up the ball. The pitcher, Ramon Troncoso, was throwing sinkerballs, and it was just hard to see the ball. I couldn't get out of the way in time.
After the game, I had a CT scan and everything came back normal, so I didn't believe I had suffered a concussion. It was just a matter of the swelling going down.
My parents were at a wedding when it happened, so they didn't find out until I called them from the hospital. My mom told me she was coming to see me. I had to convince her I was OK so she wouldn't rush down there. Everything was fine with the scan, so I didn't want her to worry.
Right after it happened, I actually felt good. My eye was a little puffy. I could see down OK, but I had to lean my head back to look straight at somebody. My eye wasn't completely swollen shut until later that night. By the next morning I couldn't see the left side of my face to shave.
Still, there wasn't any real talk of missing a lot of games or going on the disabled list. There was, however, a lot of ice involved. What else do you really do for a swollen eye? What do the boxers use when their eyes swell up like that?
I've been asked how it affected me mentally. You know, I'm not really sure. I had never been hit in the head with a Major League fastball before. I'd been hit in the head by a curveball, but that wasn't too bad. I stayed in the game that time.
Obviously, everything turned out well for me. I was fortunate. I'm glad God was watching over me. It was an unfortunate situation, and I don't think anyone was doing anything on purpose. As a hitter there were no hard feelings or anything like that. I know he didn't mean to do it.
In all it's just one of those things that happen in baseball. I think having a sense of humor helped me get past it. I try not to worry about it or let it weigh on my mind. You just have to keep moving on.
Rookie center fielder Austin Jackson is batting .300 with a .355 on-base percentage, 24 stolen bases, 32 doubles, 10 triples and 98 runs. The 23-year-old Texan was forced to leave an Interleague game at Los Angeles on May 22 during after getting hit by a 92-mph fastball. He was back in the lineup just three days later.