Derek Norris, the Nationals' top catching prospect who was hit in the head with a 95 mph fastball last night, is doing fine and is not expected to suffer any significant residual effects from an event that initially scared teammates and the organization.
Norris suffered a "slight concussion," according to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. The 21-year-old catcher at Class A Potomac dropped to the ground after getting drilled in the head by Boston Red Sox prospect Zach Hammes in the seventh inning at Salem, Va., and lost consciousness for about 45 seconds. He left the field under his own power, and though he was taken to an area hospital for observation, he was released without needing to spend the night.
Norris was wearing the recently designed S100 batting helmet that is now required in the minor leagues, and Nationals officials believe that helped soften the blow.
The organization's minor-league player of the year in 2009, Norris will be held out of baseball activities for at least a couple of days. Once he's been cleared to resume, team doctors will monitor him closely and not let him return to game action until it's clear he has no lingering symptoms.
"He's not going to do anything for a couple of days, until he gets strong and on his feet," Rizzo said. "Then he's going to do baseball activities as tolerated. He'll start running. If he feels any kind of headaches or anything, then we shut him down. It's a very step-by-step process."