FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Torii Hunter made one thing clear after getting hit in the head with a pitch on Friday night in a game against the Reds -- there will be no more night games at Hammond Stadium for him. Hunter blamed what he deemed poor lighting in the stadium for an inability to see the fastball from Reds right-hander Kyle Lohse that slammed square into the back of his helmet. "You just can't see here at night," Hunter said. "It's always been that way. Trust me, that was my last night game in Fort Myers."
It was just before the incident that Hunter had been talking to Reds catcher Javy Valentin about how dark it was in the stadium and on the next pitch, he was hit. Hunter was able to walk away from the incident with just a pinball-sized lump on the back left side of his head, but it certainly was a scary scenario. The wayward pitch from Lohse came on a 1-2 count, and after getting struck, Hunter went immediately to the ground before rolling over on his back. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire ran out to the plate along with the team's medical staff and Lohse, who was very concerned about his former teammate, with whom he recently spent a night playing poker this spring. "It's a sickening feeling," Lohse said. "I've never hit anybody in the head before. That's not something I want to do again." Hunter lay on the ground for a few minutes while trainers attended to him. He was able to walk off the field on his own but appeared to be woozy. The good news for the Twins is that Hunter never lost consciousness and showed no symptoms of a concussion though he had one little scare. "I lost the sound in my ear for a minute," Hunter said. "I couldn't hear anything out of my left ear." Jason Tyner replaced Hunter in center field. Lohse also exited the game after the pitch due to a mild strain in his right hamstring and was replaced by right-hander Brian Meadows. Lohse came to the Twins clubhouse after the game to check on Hunter. The Twins training staff will monitor Hunter overnight, making calls every two to three hours to make sure that he hasn't passed out and he remains day-to-day. But for all the seriousness of the situation, Hunter even found time to joke with his skipper as Gardenhire pleaded with his center fielder to open his eyes as he lay on the ground. "No, I'm in heaven," Hunter said.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.