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Umpire hospitalized after getting hit in head by relay throw

CLEVELAND (AP) — Umpire Larry Vanover is expected to be hospitalized overnight after being hit in the head with a relay throw on Wednesday in a “scary” moment during the New York Yankees game against the Cleveland Guardians.

Vanover is being evaluated for a concussion and other injuries at the Cleveland Clinic, where he was taken shortly after a routine play turned into something more.

The 67-year-old Vanover, who was working second base, was knocked down on the infield grass by the throw from Guardians All-Star second baseman Andrés Giménez, who wheeled and fired toward the plate. He accidentally hit Vanover, positioned between second and the mound, on the left side of his head.

Major League Baseball said Vanover is being checked for a head injury “and other potential medical issues. The timeline on his return is to be determined.”

Vanover will have to pass any concussion protocols before returning to the field. He was scheduled to work in Cincinnati on Thursday.

Following New York’s 4-3 win, plate umpire Chris Guccione told a pool reporter that Vanover had “a pretty good-sized knot” on his head and he was going to undergo a CT (imaging) scan.

“They’re going to do a concussion test and it sounded like he was coherent and that he knew kind of what was going on,” Guccione said. “But he did have that glazed look on him. He’s going to be at the hospital for the rest of the night maybe.

“That was scary. Very hard to focus after that after you see a colleague get hit. But they gave me updates, and I was like, ‘All right. He’s good. He’s in safe hands.’ So, we moved on.”

Vanover, who had ejected Yankees manager Aaron Boone in the first inning following a controversial play, was flattened by the throw and his hat flew from his head as he tumbled to the turf.

Giménez was visibly upset and many in the matinee crowd of 23,164 at Progressive Field gasped when Vanover was hit.

Vanover got to his feet without assistance and was checked by Cleveland’s trainer before slowly walking off the field. He paused briefly in front of the Guardians’ dugout to gather himself before departing.

A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Vanover has 29 years of major league umpiring experience.

Following the game, Boone praised Vanover for keeping his composure when he came out to argue a strange play in the first.

“Larry threw me out, and by the way, I hope he’s doing well,” Boone said. “That looked pretty scary. He got smoked pretty well. I was obviously pretty animated and pretty emotional and I thought he did an outstanding job of not meeting my anger and kind of understanding and being real under control and certainly respectful and I appreciate that and I hope he’s well.”

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