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Scary moment for Toledo Mud Hens

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Scary moment for Toledo Mud Hens


Friday night's Mud Hens game with Columbus was supposed to be fun for the home team.

A combination of injuries and call-ups left Toledo with only eight position players for the contest, which the Hens eventually lost 6-2. As a result, starting pitcher Ruddy Lugo was going to bat.

But just seven pitches into the contest, the fun was gone.

Lugo was hit on the right temple by a line drive off the bat of Jason Donald, knocking him out of the game. Lugo was taken to Toledo Hospital and was listed in serious condition early this morning.

"That's the scariest thing that can happen to a pitcher," said Jason Waddell, one of four pitchers who came on in relief of Lugo. "That not something you can have on your mind when you're pitching.

"A play like that does put it in the back of your head, though."

Casey Fien, who also relieved Lugo, said forgetting about the hard-hit ball wasn't easy.

"We've all got a job to do, but [forgetting about that play] was tough," he said. "And Ruddy's my roommate, so that was especially hard.

"You got to put it out of your head and do your job. Now we're going to the hospital to see him. But that's part of the game."

Having pitchers hit usually isn't part of the game, though. But that didn't matter last night as Fien, Waddell, and Robbie Weinhardt all took some cuts for the Hens.

Fien, who had never batted in a professional game, lifted a soft liner that the Clippers' second baseman, Donald, caught in shallow right.

"I was going to swing at three pitches," Fien said when asked about his strategy. "I was either going to put the ball in play with one of those swings, or I was going to strike out on three pitches."

Waddell got to bat twice, but that only meant he collected two strikeouts.

"I've always been a reliever, so I don't bat much," he said. "When I come up to the plate I just take some pitches and hope they walk me.

"The first time up, there were runners on first and third, so I tried to put the ball in play. But [Columbus starter Scott Lewis] was 'painting' on me, so I had no chance."

Why were the Hens short-handed? The Tigers called up Brennan Boesch before the game, and Toledo already was missing Clete Thomas, who is on the disabled list with a strained hamstring but is expected to be activated today. His place on the DL will be taken by Ryan Strieby, whose wrist injury has kept him out of the lineup recently.

And when manager Larry Parrish came to the ballpark yesterday, he found out that Max Leon was hobbled by a black-and-blue foot after he was hit by a pitch Thursday, while Mike Rabelo is having leg problems that resulted in him getting a shot that made him unavailable as well.

"I wanted to ask [Columbus manager Mike] Sarbaugh if he had someone who wanted some at-bats," Parrish joked before the game.

Since Lugo was knocked out of the game in the first, the Toledo bullpen was stretched to its limit. Fien covered 22/3 innings, while Waddell managed 3 frames, both season highs for the two pitchers.

The pair limited the Clippers to just one run despite five walks as the Hens carried a 2-1 lead into the seventh.

But Columbus scored twice in the seventh and three more in the eighth off Scot Drucker, who walked five and gave up four hits in two innings.

"We put a lot of guys on, and we dodged it for a while," Parrish said. "But it finally caught up to us.

"With the offense we had in this game, our margin for error was slim. We danced through it for a while, but they finally got to us in the seventh and eighth."

NOTE: Toledo's Jeff Frazier had two hits last night to extend his current hit streak to eight games.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481.


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