WOODBRIDGE, Va. --- Potomac Nationals 21-year-old catcher Derek Norris is gradually recovering and feeling better after getting hit in the head by a 95 mile per hour fastball Friday during a game in Salem, Virginia.
Norris was taken to the hospital Friday after being hit on the batting helmet by a pitch, according to a release from Potomac. Norris lay motionless on the field for nearly 10 minutes after he was hit. By the end of the night, Norris was conscious and moving his extremities at the hospital.
I caught up with Derek after Potomac’s game against Kinston Wednesday night (7-0 Indians win). He is on the even-day disabled list and was not in uniform, but continues to work out and recover with the team.
So do you remember anything from Friday night?
“I remember it was bases loaded and one out,” Norris said. “It was just the situation when it came out of his hand I was thinking curveball, about the same plane. Once my depth perception kicked in I just kind of went ‘oh, cr*p’ and just ducked my head just in time or it probably would have hit just above my chin.
“I ducked at the last second and took it off the top of my batting helmet. I woke up and there were about 15 people around me.”
“The next day, I had some sensitivity to light and I was little nauseous, but never had any headaches, which was a good sign. My memory was good. I took a concussion test yesterday that went really well.
“After Thursday’s day off, I will take the test again Friday when I visit the doctor. Then, I will get cleared to play for Saturday.”
So is the helmet still in use?
“Yeah, it is right there (points towards equipment bag next to locker). There are no cracks in it. It held up pretty good. Just caught me in the right spot to knock me out. Nothing else really except the going unconscious for 45 seconds.”
You were hitting pretty well up to that point, right?
“Yes. I think I was hitting above .300. I was just starting to get the stroke back, starting to get the timing back. Missing a week (7-day DL) is not a big deal. If I were to miss two weeks then I might have trouble getting the timing back. I took batting practice today and I felt good. Hopefully, I can continue the hot streak I was on.”
So you are not going to shy away from a high fastball next time you are in the batter’s box?
“Absolutely not. That is not my personality. I have never been that way. It is just part of the game. It happens. If you go in there and you second guess and think about getting hit in the head you are not going to do as well as you think. I just have to get back in there and whatever happens, happens.”