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Tigers' Al Alburquerque Hit By Line Drive During Batting Practice

Alburquerque was struck in the head by a ball during batting practice before Friday's game against the Orioles. He was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for tests.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Al Alburquerque had to be carted off the field before Friday's game against the Baltimore Orioles when he was hit in the head by a line drive during batting practice.

Alburquerque was playing catch in left field when a liner from the Orioles' Robert Andino struck him. According to the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec (via Twitter), the Tigers reliever went to the ground head-first after being hit in the side of the head, and was flailing his legs on the ground in pain.

Calling it one of the scariest moments he's ever witnessed, Andino was reportedly so shaken up by the scene that he couldn't finish batting practice.

A fan at Camden Yards told the Detroit News' Tom Gage that Alburquerque wasn't hit by a line drive, but a one-hopper. Nonetheless, the impact was significant. 

"It wasn't a line drive. It was a one-hopper that hit him as he was crouching down," said Derek Buckley, 19, of Strasburg, Va., a friend and former teammate of Ben Verlander, Justin's brother. "He got up holding the left side of his head, and still seemed to be in a lot of pain when he got on the cart. But he rode in the front seat as they went off. He wasn't lying down or anything."

Teammates and medical personnel immediately rushed over to help out. Alburquerque never lost consciousness, according to reports. Eventually, he could stand up, but needed assistance. A cart drove him off the field. 

Alburquerque was taken to the University of Maryland hospital for tests, including a CT scan. No word yet as to his condition, though early reports are that he is responding well to treatment.

This is the second incident in which Tigers personnel was hit during batting practice. As Gage wrote in his report, bullpen catcher Scott Pickens was struck on the right ear during the Tigers' three-game series in Cleveland.