Ducks starting pitcher Darin Downs was hit in the face by a line drive in the fourth inning of his team’s 7-4 win over the Somerset Patriots at Bethpage Ballpark on Sunday afternoon. He stayed on the ground for less than a minute and walked off the mound with a towel to his face, accompanied by a trainer.
A CT scan at South Side Hospital in Bay Shore showed no facial fractures. He is day-to-day with a head injury and a finger contusion, the Ducks said.
Downs, who declined to comment, walked around the clubhouse after the game.
“He’s OK,” manager Wally Backman said. “ . . . I think it hit his finger first. I don’t think anybody really knows, but he had a little cut on his finger. He deflected a little bit of the blow. But when you watch it on video, it was scary. But the fact that nothing is broken is probably the best thing, so we’ll go from there on him.’’
“It was great to see him walking around after the game,” rightfielder David Washington said. “It was obviously encouraging to see him walk off the field. Any time you see a pitcher go down like that, it’s really scary. The fact that he was able to get up and walk off on his own power was great. It could have been a whole lot worse. I’m glad to hear it’s not.’’
Downs, who pitched in the majors with the Tigers and Astros from 2012-14, already had been named the Ducks’ Game 1 starter when the playoffs begin later this month. Backman said Downs wouldn’t have made this week’s road trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, anyway because he wasn’t scheduled to start. The Ducks return home on Friday for a three-game series against Sugar Land.
“We’ll evaluate him if he’s going to miss a start or push a start back a little bit,” Backman said. “He’s pretty sore. It’s really going to be on him . . . Downs will be able to relax for the next three or four days, have to probably play catch and stuff.”
Downs pitched well before the injury, allowing one hit and one run with three strikeouts in 3 1⁄3 innings. Zack Weiss replaced him and allowed two runs and five hits in 1 2⁄3 innings. Felix Carvallo, Ismael Cabrera and Cody Mincey then allowed one run in four innings.
The Ducks (28-21) took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Clint Freeman’s hard single to right-centerfield drove in Deibinson Romero and Washington.
Washington, who returned from the disabled list last week after breaking a finger in late July, launched a 403-foot home run to left in the fourth to drive in two runs and give the Ducks a 4-1 lead.
“I was able to work myself into a good count,” Washington said. “I got a good pitch to hit. It was a fastball over the plate, which is what I’m looking for. I was able to get the barrel to it.”
Nick Garland’s sacrifice fly later in the fourth gave the Ducks a 5-1 lead. Romero’s two-run homer in the seventh made it 7-4.