Umpire Crawford hit by bat, leaves game

Umpire Crawford leaves game

HOUSTON -- Veteran umpire Jerry Crawford left Sunday's game at Houston in the first inning after getting hit in the head with a bat.

Houston's Carlos Lee swung at a pitch from Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, but Lee's follow-through on the swing struck Crawford on the top of head. Crawford walked to the Houston dugout, where he was attended to by team medical personnel. He was sent to Methodist Hospital for further tests.

"I had a CAT scan done, I'm in good shape," Crawford said in the umpires' room after the game, as he held an ice pack to his head.

Although he had a gash that did not require stitches, Crawford has a contusion, but has been cleared to resume umpiring duties on Monday.

"[Lee] sliced it; I guess they call it a hematoma," Crawford said. "It hit me on the top of the head."

Crawford never saw what happened.

"I have no idea, I really couldn't tell you," he said. "All of a sudden, I got hit. I really don't know what happened. Just one of those things, that's all."

After a nine-minute delay, play resumed with three umpires. Rob Drake took over for crew chief Crawford behind the plate, and Paul Nauert moved from second to first. Brian O'Nora remained at third base.

"I'm going to work tomorrow night in Cleveland," Crawford said. "I'm OK to fly. I saw a neurosurgeon at the Methodist Hospital here, and he gave me a clean bill of health. As a matter of fact, I'm going to report that to Major League Baseball."

Crawford left a game in Chicago earlier this month due to a bad reaction to a medication that led to him spending a night in the hospital.

"My luck right now isn't going real good," he said. "I guess everybody called my wife -- she was scared, but I got ahold of her and let her know I'm fine."

Crawford's sense of humor was no worse for the wear. The matted blood in his hair hid the cut, but Crawford still could joke about it.

"I'm OK. I've got a little headache; it hit me in the right spot," he said, smiling.

Crawford has been a Major League umpire since 1976. He has worked 17 postseason series, including five World Series, as well as the 1999 All-Star Game.

Jim Molony is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.