Three weeks ago, Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher, Evan Marshall, took the mound at Triple-A Reno against the El Paso Chihuahuas as he continued to try and improve in hopes of fighting his way back to the major leagues. On Aug. 4, it wasn’t a roster spot he would be fighting for, but his life.
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Marshall was hit in the head by a line drive off of the bat of El Paso’s Jason Haggerty. Marshall was able to walk off of the field under his own power and for a brief moment, it didn’t appear as if there were any significant injuries.
A little while later, Marshall began to feel nauseous and went to the hospital. At the hospital, doctors soon discovered that Marshall had fractured his skull and was bleeding on his brain. He was then rushed into emergency surgery to save his life.
Now in rehabilitation, Marshall visited Chase Field on Tuesday night to visit with his fellow teammates and talk about what happened that night in El Paso.
In a press conference at Chase Field, Marshall described what he went through,
"“Every minute was real important about how I was going to be able to come back, because damage was being done with the pressure that was building in my skull. They got me opened up and relieved the pressure real fast and stopped the damage from being done, they sealed me up, put 20 staples up the side of my head. But if that’s the price I have to pay to continue my career, that’s fine.”"
Marshall is back in Phoenix now and is undergoing rehab at Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Christina Kwasnica was on hand at the conference as well and spoke about Marshall’s injury and progress,
"“It was a very severe brain injury. I hate to talk about it in front of patients, but it was a hit right in the wrong part of the skull, where the skull is thin. And right below there is an artery, so he had immediate bleeding.”“The focus of therapy right now is brain recovery and making sure everything is back to baseline, and then the focus will shift to returning him back as an athlete, which he wants to have happen as quickly as possible. It’s remarkable that we are even having this discussion, or talking about those kind of things three weeks after what happened.”"
Diamondbacks beat writer for MLB.com, Steve Gilbert, tweeted that Marshall plans to wear a protective hat when he returns to the mound.
May 9, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcherAlex Torres
(54) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Right now, there is only one pitcher in MLB that wears a protective hat, Alex Torres, of the New York Mets. It’s unclear whether Marshall will wear the same kind of hat Torres wears, or if it’ll be something different.
Given the nature of his injuries and where he was struck, this decision shouldn’t come as a surprise. Dr. Kwasnica also added that if Marshall was playing in a contact sport like football or hockey, his playing days would be done.
Although, Marshall joked about pitching again in September, it’s the 2016 season that looks to be a more probable time table of his return.