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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Reliever fine after liner hits head
By MARC TOPKIN
Published September 17, 2006
TORONTO - It sounded frightening and looked worse, but the news was good for Devil Rays reliever Edwin Jackson, who escaped injury after being hit on the back of the head by a line drive in the eighth inning.
The ball, hit by Adam Lind, caromed past third, but Jackson never left his feet, jogged to cover third, smiled when trainer Ron Porterfield rushed to his aid and walked off on his own. He said later he was okay, just that "it feels like I got punched in the back of the head."
Jackson was examined at the stadium by Dr. Erin Boynton and was to get a precautionary CAT scan late Saturday, but manager Joe Maddon said the reports were extremely good.
"He's fine," Maddon said. "Apparently he may have gotten lucky. ... For all intents and purposes as of this moment, the doctor said he's fine and he should be fine."
At the time, Maddon wasn't sure that would be the case.
"It was freaky. It was real scary," he said. "It was hit pretty good, and the way it deflected I said, 'Oh, my.' I saw him standing there, and then (thought) he might be okay. Then I ran out there and he said, 'I'm okay, I'm all right.' "
Third baseman B.J. Upton described the sound of impact as hollow, and Jays coach Ernie Whitt described it as "a melon popping."
Jackson said he had been hit in the head by a pitch when he was 16 and wasn't worried. What may have saved him from serious injury was a slight turn of his head just before impact. "It was more reaction," Jackson said. "You see a ball, you duck. I didn't have time to get fully out of the way, but I turned my head as much as possible."
Jackson likely won't pitch for at least several days.
SWING CLUB: Rookie Delmon Young has done a lot right since coming up in late August, especially offensively, rapping 28 hits in his first 17 games to sport a .394 average. He has hits in 15 games, including his past 10.
But there is some concern he might be too aggressive. Consider that of the first 181 pitches Young has seen in the majors, he has swung at 112, a whopping 67.4 percent. He is averaging less than 2.5 pitches per plate appearance and - no surprise - has walked only once in 74 trips to the plate.
PITCHING IN: Maddon said a decision on shutting down All-Star left-hander Scott Kazmir for the season is likely to come Monday or Tuesday. ... Reliever Chad Orvella hasn't pitched since Sept. 3 because of a muscle strain near his ribs.
MINOR MATTERS: Winning the Double-A Southern League championship was not only good for the Montgomery Biscuits, who wrapped it up with a 12-4 win over Huntsville on Friday, but for the entire Tampa Bay organization.
"The development of our players in the minor leagues is the most important factor, and we think playing in meaningful games in championship situations helps further that," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
Class A Visalia went into Game 3 of the California League championship at San Bernardino late Saturday with ace James Houser on the mound. The Oaks evened the best-of-five series with a 10-5 win Friday over Inland Empire but lost leading hitter Josh Asanovich to an ankle injury.
AMAZING EVAN: How good of a year did Evan Longoria have? Besides getting a $3-million bonus after the Rays made him the No. 3 pick in the June draft and winning a championship with Montgomery, all he did in 69 pro games at three levels was hit .318 with 21 homers and 64 RBIs. Add in his numbers from Long Beach State and in 125 games he hit .332 with 32 homers and 107 RBIs.
MISCELLANY: The Rays made their 110th error, one fewer than the AL-worst Angels. ... Rookie catcher Shawn Riggans, impressive in his first start Friday, will be behind the plate today. ... Ex-Ray Scott Aldred's 1998 major-league record of 48 appearances over a full season without a win, loss or save is in jeopardy: Detroit's Jamie Walker made his 49th Friday. ... Any doubt Toronto is still a hockey town? In Saturday's Toronto Star, there were two stories about the Rays-Jays game and nine about the opening of Maple Leafs camp.