But after experiencing what Yankees manager Joe Girardi called a "very scary" moment, laying motionless on the field at Progress Energy Park while the entire roster surrounded him, Merrill considered himself lucky.
"I had my wits about me," Merrill said. "They made it look like a bigger ordeal than it was, but they're just doing their job."
The Yankees' manager in 1990 and '91, Merrill -- a special assistant to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman -- was behind a screen in the outfield on Wednesday, picking up a baseball, when he was hit in the face by an errant throw.
Merrill, 64, spent several hours at Bayview Medical Center in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. He was accompanied in an ambulance by Yankees head athletic trainer Gene Monahan.
Merrill underwent a pair of CT scans, which came back negative, as well as an emergency root canal after losing a tooth.
"I feel pretty good, all things considered," Merrill said. "I didn't sleep very well."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.