Last night during his Arizona Rookie League game, Mariners’ top draft pick Alex Jackson was struck in the face by a line drive in the right-center gap when he lost the ball in the lights on a sliding catch attempt.
Jackson was taken to a local hospital for x-rays immediately.
Mariners director of minor league operations Chris Gwynn said today that Jackson suffered a small fracture of the maxillary antrum (sinus area).
“He’s doing okay,” Gwynn said. “It’s supposed to be not really too bad. When you think about it, he could have got hit in the eye or other different places that could have been worse. We’re having him see our specialist and we’ll see where it goes. Right now, we don’t think it’s that bad. He’s going to rest for a while and see some doctors.”
Gwynn said there is no status for Jackson’s return until he meets with the specialists and they determine the best course of action going forward.
Here’s Jackson’s numbers in 20 games with the AZL Mariners.
In other injury related news, Ramon Morla, who was converted from third base to relief pitcher, has suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is scheduled for Tommy John surgery.
Morla had some decent success as a third base prospect particularly in Class A High Desert. But he struggled after being called to Class AA Jackson, particularly hitting offspeed and breaking pitches. With DJ Peterson and Patrick Kivlehan passing him on the organizational depth chart, the Mariners converted Morla to a pitcher.
“He’s always had a plus-plus arm,” Gwynn said.
The experiment was paying off. Morla stepped on the mound the first time and showed solid mechanics and an easy throwing motion. Before he got hurt, his fastball was consistently in the mid 90s and touching upper 90s.
“He showed enough to promise in the little time he pitched that blew a lot of us away,” Gwynn said. “We’re still optimistic.”