DENVER — Colorado Rockies right-hander Ryan Feltner is slowly recovering from a concussion and fractured skull. He doesn’t know if he can pitch again this year, but he hasn’t ruled it out.
Feltner spoke publicly for the first time Friday since getting hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Philadelphia’s Nick Castellanos on May 13. Feltner spent a night in the hospital and has lingering concussion symptoms, as well as right ear pain.
“A lot of fractures symptoms, just a headache from the concussion, dizziness, but today there’s no pain,” he said while sitting in the home dugout at Coors Field. “I’m sleeping well, and day-to day stuff has become a lot easier. So the feel is that I’m in a really good spot compared to where it could be.”
Feltner was injured when Castellanos lined an 92.7 mph slider up the middle. Feltner turned away, the ball hit him in the back right portion of his head and he immediately collapsed on the mound.
“I didn’t really lose consciousness or anything. Everybody got out there pretty quick to check on me, so just kind of getting my bearings,” he said. “I was just glad I was able to walk off. I knew right away what was going on.”
Castellanos was visibly shaken as he crouched at first base and expressed remorse after the game. Feltner said he received a letter and a small gift from Castellanos.
“I felt bad for him because I saw how upset he was, but it’s part of the game,” Feltner said.
Feltner started balancing exercises Thursday and faces a long road to recovery. He can’t sit in the dugout for games, he can read and watch TV in short spurts and he said he is most comfortable outside, where he can focus on things at a distance.
“There isn’t a set program like a Tommy John program,” Rockies assistant athletic trainer Scott Murayama said. “It’s take steps to make sure that these symptoms resolve make sure the fracture heals, and then slowly starting back into activities.
“His balance has actually has been very good, but with the concussion and ear injury he can have balance issues. So it’s retraining the body to be aware of where its at.”
The 26-year-old Feltner is in his third season with Colorado and second year as part of the rotation. He is 2/3 with a 5.86 ERA in eight starts, and hopes he can return this year.
“I don’t want to rule it out. The desire on my end is there. I’m putting my trust in the team, the professionals that know more than I do about the issues. We’re in this process together, but I will pitch again at some point, I don’t know if will be this year.”