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Doctors ‘optimistic’ about condition of Rays’ Triple-A pitcher

Notebook | Tyler Zombro, struck in the face by a line drive last week, is now out of the ICU.
Rays Triple-A pitcher Tyler Zombro moved out of the ICU at Duke University Hospital on Monday.
Rays Triple-A pitcher Tyler Zombro moved out of the ICU at Duke University Hospital on Monday. [ FRANK FRANKLIN II | Associated Press ]
Published Jun. 7
Updated Jun. 8

Rays’ Triple-A pitcher Tyler Zombro moved out of the intensive care unit of Duke University Hospital on Monday as he recovers from what his mother said was “major brain surgery” after being hit in the face by a line drive.

“He’s continuing to progress,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “(The doctors) seem optimistic with how everything is going.”

Zombro’s mother, Fonda Morris, told the Daily News Record from their Virginia-area hometown Sunday night that they were told the prognosis was good and the 26-year-old should be released from the hospital in about a week.

“He is alert and conscious. He is very tired, and understandably so,” she said. “...He has given a lot of thumbs up for things. Right now he is worried about others and not himself. We told him to focus on his recovery.”

Zombro’s father, Tim, said the surgery took place about two hours after the incident Thursday. Per the News Record, Zombro’s wife, Moriah, a registered nurse, was in the stands watching the game, which was suspended after the injury.

According to a tweet from Chris Lea of WRAL-TV, Zombro “fell face first and started convulsing on the ground.” He was taken from the field on a stretcher.

The Durham Bulls returned to the field Saturday night.

More notes:

• The Nationals come to Tropicana Field starting Tuesday for a two-game series with a couple of familiar faces. This year long-time Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey joined the staff of manager Davey Martinez, the former Rays player and coach. Also on the staff is Tim Bogar, who spent 2008 as a Rays coach. Martinez on Friday became the winningest manager in Nats history, surpassing Davey Johnson by logging his 225th win. In four seasons on the job, Martinez is 225-215.

• The Rays are going back to almost full capacity at the Trop (around 20,000) starting Tuesday, with most of the seating sections returned to standard configuration. Distanced seating will be available in 200-level sections. Also, the stingrays will return to the outfield tank this week, with the touch experience reopening June 22.

• With no roster moves announced Monday, the Rays are still carrying 14 pitchers and 12 position players, as they have since Ji-Man Choi went on the injured list Friday. Posssible callups from Triple-A include infielders Vidal Brujan or Kevin Padlo.

• Brujan was named the organization’s top May minor-league hitter (.315 with a .992 OPS, seven homers, 21 RBIs, nine steals, in 22 games for Durham) and lefty John Doxakis the top pitcher (3-0, 0.82, 33 strikeouts in 22 innings for Low-A Charleston, S.C.)