KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ryan Doumit felt nauseous behind the plate Wednesday night, unable to focus on what was going on in front of him. And it had nothing to do with the Twins’ historic inability to beat the Royals.
Doumit left the Twins’ 5-2 loss to Kansas City in the fourth inning after feeling “mentally in a fog” behind the plate, and he was soon diagnosed by a Royals doctor with concussion symptoms that will likely land him — against his wishes — on the disabled list. The veteran catcher wasn’t around to witness Kansas City’s 12th victory over the Twins this season, the most ever in the teams’ 45-year history against each other.
“I couldn’t really put it into words — I didn’t have it,” Doumit said of the nausea he felt as he caught Sam Deduno’s fastball. “I was nauseous, I was dizzy. … If you can’t concentrate on what pitches you’re calling, you shouldn’t be back there.”
He told athletic trainer Dave Pruemer how he felt, and he was immediately removed from the game. He’ll be examined again in Chicago, where the Twins open a four-game series Friday, but “I would say it’s high probability he’s going on the DL,” Assistant General Manager Rob Antony said. “The way the rules have changed for [the players’] own protection, it’s probably the best and safest route. … I know he doesn’t ever like to miss a game, but that’s probably what we’ll end up having to do.”
With Doumit a candidate for the seven-day concussion list, the Twins summoned Josh Willingham to meet them in Chicago, where he will be activated to play in Friday’s doubleheader. Willingham’s rehab stint was cut short after he hit a home run in Durham, N.C., on Wednesday, convincing the Twins that “he’s ready to go,” Antony said.
The Twins never looked ready against Kansas City this season, with only rare exceptions. They finish 2013 with a 2-7 record at Kauffman Stadium, worse than each of the past 20 years except for a 1-5 mark in 2000. And the frustrating part on Wednesday was that Deduno, who had dominated the Royals twice this season, was the victim this time.
Deduno didn’t walk a batter for just the second time in his 29 career starts. But it’s hard to walk when players are bashing someone’s pitches all over the diamond.
Deduno, who averages a walk for every seven outs he records this season, made the Royals earn their way on the bases Wednesday — something they were more than happy to do, racking up a career-high 12 hits against Deduno in his 5⅔ innings. It was his most ragged outing in a month. He allowed the leadoff hitter to to reach base in five of the six innings he started, constantly putting himself on the defensive.
That’s as opposed to the Twins, who set a new season high for strikeouts in a nine-inning game, whiffing 16 times against six pitchers.
“Sammy was battling pretty hard, but they were shooting the ball the other way,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It looked like they made some adjustments” against a pitcher who had allowed one run in 13 previous innings against Kansas City this season. “We hung in there, but ultimately we had too many strikeouts.”
And now they may be without their backup catcher and designated hitter, who believes his fuzziness began when Justin Maxwell fouled a ball off his helmet during the ninth inning of Sunday’s win over Houston. Doumit felt dizzy on the flight to Kansas City, but didn’t say anything until Wednesday. Until he was unable to focus well enough to call pitches.
“That was a recipe for disaster — not being able to concentrate, focus, and feeling like you’re going to throw up,” he said.
“I’ve had many concussions before. Many. So I’ve kind of gone down this road before, and it’s best to nip this in the bud before it gets worse,” he said. “I hope this is something I can fight through. I don’t want to go on the disabled list. I don’t want to miss any time. ... But it’s out of my hands.”