Kawakami appears to be fine
As soon as Joba Chamberlain’s line drive struck Kenshin Kawakami’s neck during Wednesday night’s game at Turner Field, I immediately thought about the Lance Berkman liner that struck Horacio Ramirez in the right side of the head during the 2006 season.
One of the most horrific scenes in baseball is the comebacker that strikes a pitcher in the head. Immediate thoughts rest on their physical well being. Then when provided the confidence that they’re physically healthy, you can’t help but worry about how the event might affect them mentally when they return to the mound.
Based on what I could gather from Kawakami during Wednesday’s postgame interview, he’s looking forward to getting back on the mound as soon as possible. As he spoke, it was easy to see the bruise that had formed at the base of the right side of his neck.
While all of the questions were simply aimed toward his well-being, Kawakami twice mentioned the disappointment he felt when this event forced him to leave after just three innings of what resulted as an 8-4 Yankees victory.
“The loss is disappointing,” said Kawakami, who was perfect through his three innings. “ “I’m happy that it just missed vital parts though. It could have been worse.”
Chamberlain, who had just five previous career plate appearances, was an avid Braves fan and his favorite player was Chipper Jones.
Before Wednesday’s game, Jones signed a jersey for Chamberlain. Then a short time later, he found himself joining the 23-year-old hurler and many others who were simply staring at Kawakami with the hope that he had avoided a serious injury.
“When I hit the ball off [Kawakami], (Chipper) came over and said, ‘You’re not supposed to take out my pitcher,’” Chamberlain said. “He signed a jersey for me. I’m 23 and I’ve looked up to that man for a long time. It was pretty special for me.”