Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel was taken to a hospital on Monday night after he injured himself making a catch at the wall in the eighth inning of St. Louis’ game against the Phillies. Ankiel hit headfirst against the left-center field wall after making a catch on a deep line drive by Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said that Ankiel had movement and feeling in his arms and legs, and that according to the team’s head physician, Dr. George Paletta, Ankiel never lost consciousness on the play. A club official said that Ankiel checked out as “neurologically intact” both on the field and at the hospital. The club expects to issue a statement before midnight CT.
“He was never knocked out,” Mozeliak said. “He never lost consciousness. My understanding was that he had some discomfort in the face area, obviously, from hitting the wall. But for the most part right now, we’re encouraged based on Dr. Paletta’s first, just getting to see him on the field.
Feliz hit a drive to left-center with one out in the eighth. Ankiel chased the ball down and made the catch, but couldn’t stop himself in time to avoid contact with the wall. He was barely able to brace himself, and his head hit the outfield wall at an awkward angle. Ankiel fell to the warning track and the ball came out of his hands.
As he lay still on the track, most of his teammates came out to check on him, as did manager Tony La Russa, head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg and later Paletta. Ankiel was lifted onto a cart and driven off the field. Some movement from Ankiel was visible, including a thumbs-up gesture as he was carted off.
“It’s a scary thing to see, there’s no doubt about it,” Mozeliak said. “But I don’t want to sit here and try to guess what it may or may not be. The fact that when Dr. Paletta saw him, he said he was responsive, I think that’s encouraging.”
Colby Rasmus took Ankiel’s place in center field.