ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Matt Clement knows he's fortunate.
The Boston pitcher was released from a hospital Wednesday, less
than 24 hours after being hit in the side of the head by a line
drive that knocked him off his feet. He rejoined his teammates in
time to enjoy the end of a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil
"I'm thankful, I guess, for the way it happened if it had to
happen," said Clement, who was carted from the field after Carl
Crawford's liner struck him in the right side of the head, just
above the ear.
"The strange thing is I remember the whole thing. I remember
laying there and knowing what happened to me but not panicking. I
didn't really get scared until I was going off the field and I
started thinking about my wife and two boys, and what might have
been if it would have been in a different spot."
Clement was hospitalized overnight and released after undergoing
further tests and observation Wednesday morning. He was released in
the afternoon, and took a short nap at the team hotel before
heading to the ballpark to accompany his teammates back to Boston.
"I think that gave us a bigger lift than anything else,"
manager Terry Francona said.
"We knew he was at the hotel, then you heard players buzzing
when he showed up. Our guys were kind of scrambling back to say
hello and check on him. I thought that was a great lift for
everybody, myself included."
Clement was bombarded with telephone messages from former
teammates and friends who saw television replays of the ball
bounding off his head with such force that it wound up skipping
into left field for a RBI single.
"A lot more people called than when I made the All-Star team,"
the pitcher joked.
Clement said he has been hit in the leg and wrist by batted
balls, but never in the head. He had a cut on his ear, was groggy
and had some soreness in his neck but did not sustain a concussion.
"When a ball comes at you that quick, it's a quick reaction. I
saw the replay and I saw my glove flew up there after it got by and
hit me in the head. I just remember it ricocheting off my head and
me hitting the ground and looking over toward first base with a
kind of ringing sensation in my ear," the pitcher said.
"It was more of a shock. I wouldn't call it intense pain. It
was more of a shock to the situation, knowing what happened and
knowing it wasn't a pretty thing. ... I know he hit the ball hard.
It wasn't a changeup off his bat where you misjudge it with your
glove. I knew he hit it about as hard as he's going to hit a
The pitcher's wife and oldest son, 2-year-old Mattix, were
watching the game on television. He spoke to both of them from the
hospital, where Francona and pitching coach Dave Wallace visited
"He laughed a lot. He was Matt. He just had a bump on his
head," the manager said, adding that he was amazed Clement wasn't
injured more seriously.
Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella was relieved to hear there was no
"It's a dangerous thing. It scares the heck out of you. It
shows you how defenseless a pitcher is at times," Piniella said.
Crawford planned to try to reach the pitcher and talk to him.
"You never want to see something like that," Crawford said.
"I hope the best for him. Hopefully, he's going to recover well."
Although Francona said he had been unable to bring himself to
watch replays, Clement had done it over and over.
"It's not something I want to watch a lot, but I didn't have
much choice. It was on about every station. If I wanted to watch TV
and pass time, I had to see it. I didn't enjoy watching it, but it
didn't bother me too much," Clement said.
The right-hander said it's too early to speculate about when
he'll make his next start. But a source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney that Clement has told his father he intends to make his next start, scheduled for Tuesday.
It may be too soon, too, to say whether he'll have extra anxiety
about taking the mound again.
"As of right now, it's not a fear. I'm not dreading doing it
again," Clement said. "But I guess you'll never know until you're
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.