Kuroda released from hospital

PHOENIX -- Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda was released from the hospital Sunday morning and cleared to fly home with the team after taking a liner off his head in the sixth inning of Saturday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The cheery prognosis had no effect on Kuroda's feelings about the scary play.

"Yes, I feel lucky. I feel lucky to be alive and to be able to get back on the mound again," Kuroda said after Los Angeles' 9-3 victory over Arizona on Sunday. "You never know what is going to happen in this game."

Kuroda's CT scan was negative and he was scheduled for more tests by Los Angeles neurologist Dr. Vernon Williams on Monday.

"I have a slight headache. When I stand up, I feel a little dizzy sometimes," said Kuroda, who had a small bump on the right side of his head where he was struck by Rusty Ryal's line drive.

Kuroda, who is 5-5 with a 4.08 ERA, is expected to miss his next scheduled start Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.

"We are unbelievably pleasantly surprised by the lack of symptoms he has," Los Angeles trainer Stan Conte said. "Many times, when a player begins to exert himself, the more the symptoms come on. If we make an error, we are going to make it on the conservative side."

The 34-year-old Kuroda crumpled to the mound after Ryal's liner deflected off his head and landed near the Arizona on-deck circle before bouncing into the stands for a ground-rule double.

All eight Dodgers fielders stood on the mound as trainers tended to Kuroda, who was placed on a stretcher and loaded onto a cart. He raised both of his arms as the cart rolled off the field.

"Just very lucky. I guess it just hit him in the right spot if there is such a right spot," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Kuroda said he called his wife, Masayo, from the ambulance en route to St. Joseph's Hospital. She was in Los Angeles, and saw the play on TV.

"She thought I died," he said. "It happened so fast, I didn't have any time to be scared. The ball came so fast I didn't have time to react."

Ryal sent a supportive message to the Los Angeles clubhouse Saturday night and was encouraged that Kuroda was feeling better Sunday. Kuroda said there were no hard feelings.

"We're both pro athletes. We know what can happen on the field," Kuroda said. "We're both trying to do our best.

"I will pay attention to Ryal in years to come when I am watching TV in Japan. I hope he becomes a superstar, and I can say I was hit by that batter. I hope that day will come."

The fact that the ball traveled so far after hitting Kuroda is an encouraging sign, said Conte, who spoke with sports concussion expert Dr. Mickey Collins of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on Sunday morning.

"Typically, when the ball ricochets like that, there is a better outcome than if it drops near the mound," Conte said. "That means it [ball] was on the head for a shorter period of time."