DENVER -- Left-handed Rockies reliever Alan Embree suffered a fractured tibia in his right leg against the Braves on Friday and will most likely miss the remainder of the season.
Embree threw a 3-2 fastball in the seventh inning to Martin Prado, who lined it right back up the middle. Embree tried to protect himself, but the ball hit him square on the right leg and he went down instantaneously. The southpaw tried to walk, but fell down on the first step.
"He didn't look good, for sure, once he took that first step on it," second baseman Clint Barmes said. "I think everybody knew it was going to be a lot more serious than what we were hoping."
"That was the weirdest sound I've ever heard," Prado said. "I was hoping that it caught some meat or his muscle. But then he couldn't even walk. That was scary."
The sound of the ball hitting Embree was loud enough that the Rockies' outfielders and bench heard it.
"My initial reaction when I heard it, I realized that it was not his shoe that got hit," manager Jim Tracy said. "I was scared to death."
Added center fielder Dexter Fowler, "It was loud. I knew something was broke but I didn't know it was that bad. My prayers are with the Embree family."
Embree stayed on the ground for a couple of minutes and was looked at by head athletic trainer Keith Dugger. A cart later came out and wheeled the composed Embree off. He left to a round of applause, and was taken to a local hospital to have X-rays taken.
"He was sitting there and working with the trainer, Doogie," Barmes said. "He had a normal conversation with him like it wasn't anything real serious. That's why it was kind of a surprise for me to hear it was broken in half. It's scary and I wish him and his family the best."
Embree will have surgery Saturday and will have a compression screw inserted into the leg to stabilize it.
A 16-year veteran, Embree had thrown six straight scoreless appearances and is 2-2 with a 5.84 ERA this season. Tracy said the injury happened at an unfortunate time because it was the best he's pitched all season.
Many in the clubhouse hope that the injury will not force the 39 year-old pitcher to retire.
"Everyone was hoping it wasn't as serious as, obviously, what it is," Barmes said. "Everybody in here wishes him the best that way and hopefully recover. He's had one great career and hopefully this isn't the end of it."
Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.