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Saturday, June 7
Choi in fair condition with concussion

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Cubs first baseman Hee Seop Choi was in fair condition with a concussion Saturday following a violent collision with pitcher Kerry Wood in a game against the Yankees.

Hee Seop Choi
Hee Seop Choi lies motionless in the Wrigley infield after colliding with Kerry Wood as the two chased a pop-up near the third-base line.

Choi lay motionless for several minutes after he was knocked to the ground and was taken off the field in an ambulance.

Choi was admitted to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he will remain for overnight evaluation. Cubs officials said Choi was moving and talking.

"I can tell you one thing. Heep Seop did ask how Woody was doing," Cubs trainer Dave Tumbas said without elaborating.

The Cubs, behind a three-run homer from Choi's replacement, Eric Karros, beat the Yankees 5-2 and spoiled Roger Clemens' bid for his 300th career victory.

But Choi was on all his teammates' minds and they were told after the game that the rookie would be OK.

"He's moving and he's conscious. At least for now he's out of the danger zone," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.

With one out in the top of the fourth, Chicago put on a shift with New York star Jason Giambi at the plate. Giambi hit a high popup toward third, but third baseman Lenny Harris was near second base and had no chance at the ball and catcher Damian Miller couldn't pick it up because of the sun.

Wood and Choi raced toward the pop, but neither had a great look at it either because of the sun. As they neared the third-base line, about 20 feet from home plate, they collided, with Wood's glove hitting Choi in the face.

Choi fell hard, slamming the back of his head on the dirt.

Four doctors and two trainers rushed to the field as Choi lay motionless on his back while his stunned teammates huddled around.

"It was pretty much frightening right there," Harris said. "He held onto the ball, but as soon as his head hit, he was out. His eyes rolled into the back of his head."

Wrigley Field, which had been frenetic, went eerily quiet. Fans watched in silence as, first, a stretcher was called for, then the ambulance.

Wood, who was also knocked down, was able to get to his feet.

The game was delayed 17 minutes.

"I've never seen anything like that when I've been on the field," said Wood, who regained his composure and finished up a brilliant effort that saw him give up just three hits and strike out 11 in 7 2-3 innings.

"To see a teammate just lying there helpless and knocked out, it was scary. But once he was able to at least squeeze some fingers and do some of that stuff before he was off the field, I felt a little bit better about it."

Choi is the first Korean-born position player in the major leagues. Cubs manager Dusty Baker affectionately calls the 6-foot-5, 240-pound first baseman "Big Choi."

"The umpire gave me the ball and he told me to give it to Big Choi. I gave the lady in the ambulance the ball," Baker said.

Many in the crowd didn't forget what had happened even as the Cubs were wrapping up the victory in the ninth when they started to chant: "Hee Seop Choi, Hee Seop Choi."

Hendry said Choi would probably end up on the disabled list and the Cubs would call up a replacement from the minors.

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