Matt Shoemaker reflects on liner-to-head incident

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Matt Shoemaker, the Angels pitcher struck in the head by a line drive last month, says he's "excited" to return to the mound in 2017 and is open to wearing protective headgear in the future.

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," Shoemaker recalled the Sept. 4 incident, in which he was hit on the right side of his head by a line drive from Seattle's Kyle Seager. The ball had an exit velocity of 105 mph, according to MLB Statcast.

The right-hander sustained a small skull fracture and hematoma. He was released from the hospital two days after undergoing surgery to stop additional bleeding in his skull.

"I remember throwing the pitch, but I think it happened so quick, I didn't see it," Shoemaker told GMA. "There was an artery right under where I got hit so it, you know, damaged the artery [and] caused the bleed.

"It was one of those things where it's like you had 25 thoughts in a second. It was like, man, I just got hit. Wow, I'm -- I feel dizzy. Am I OK? OK. Can I keep pitching? Like, you -- you name it, like, different random thoughts just popped in your head."

The surgeon told Shoemaker that if the liner had struck him an inch higher or lower, a concussion was likely. Instead, it was an even more serious outcome.

"After everything was OK, he said with the epidural, kind of the bleed that I had, you literally live or die," Shoemaker told GMA of the surgeon.

Shoemaker, who now has a titanium plate in his skull, said he walked onto the pitcher's mound at Angels Stadium in Anaheim for the first time this week. He will find out when he can resume training after undergoing a CT scan in four weeks.

When he does get clearance to play, Shoemaker said he plans to try out specialized helmets that guard against head injuries for pitchers.

"I am 100 percent trying all these options in the offseason, you know, to see, you know, comfort, fit, all that stuff," he told GMA. "If it feels and works like a baseball hat, I'd be definitely willing to wear it."

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