Liriano struck by liner, taken to hospital

Lefty cleared to fly back to Toronto after being hit in head and neck area

Liriano struck by liner, taken to hospital

ARLINGTON -- Toronto pitcher Francisco Liriano was cleared to fly home with the team after he was struck in the head and neck by a line drive during the eighth inning of the Blue Jays' 5-3 win over the Rangers in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday afternoon.

Liriano walked off the field under his own power, but upon reaching the clubhouse, an ambulance was called to take him to a local hospital to undergo further examination. Medical personnel used a stretcher to move Liriano from the clubhouse to the ambulance.

The scary incident happened when Carlos Gomez hit a 102-mph liner up the middle. The ball struck Liriano and ricocheted into center field, but the veteran lefty remained on his feet and even went to back up third base.

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Toronto manager John Gibbons and head trainer George Poulis immediately ran onto the field at the conclusion of the play.

"He got hit somewhere back in here," Gibbons said while grabbing the back of his head and neck area. "I couldn't tell you exactly where. So he's just going for some further tests. Any time you get a head injury, you have to get it looked at. So that's about the extent of it right now."

Gomez was visibly shaken after the game because of the incident. He called Liriano his "best friend," and he said he texted his fellow countryman (both are from the Dominican Republic) but had yet to hear back. Gomez, like everyone else, was waiting for more updates on Liriano's condition.

"It was so scary," Gomez said. "You don't want anybody to get hit that close to the face. It was scary. You don't want to hurt anybody."

Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ can relate to this type of situation better than most people. Happ has gone through this type of traumatic incident, as he was struck on the side of his head by a line drive during a game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on May 7, 2013.

Happ sustained a fractured skull on the play and did not return until Aug. 7, but that was also because he did some damage to his right knee while falling to the ground after contact. All Toronto can do at this point is hope for the best.

Gibbons on Liriano's injury

"They took him in and were doing some tests for him," Happ said. "It's hard. He probably has to collect himself, too. I don't know what he's going through, but hopefully it's not bad. ... I saw him right when he came up, but I know he's not here right now, so that's what I mean when I say I don't know what's going on. But I'm hoping for the best, that's for sure."

The ambulance pulled up to the entrance of the Blue Jays' clubhouse as Liriano was taken out on the stretcher. Several players gathered around, and Kevin Pillar placed his right hand on the side of the vehicle as the ambulance began to drive away.

The scary situation understandably took a lot of the excitement away from Toronto's victory. The Blue Jays now lead the best-of-five series, 2-0, but most importantly, everyone's thoughts are with Liriano.

"Pretty scary; that could happen to any one of us," said Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna, who entered after Liriano was removed from the game. "I feel bad for him, but I know he's going to be fine."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.