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Padres, ex-Rays pitcher Blake Snell cleared to start after accident

“Physically, he’s fine,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said of Snell, whose vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver. “But that can shake you up a little bit.”
Blake Snell was evaluated by the Padres’ medical team Friday and cleared to take the mound.
Blake Snell was evaluated by the Padres’ medical team Friday and cleared to take the mound. [ GREG FIUME | Getty Images North America ]
Published Aug. 20|Updated Aug. 20

SAN DIEGO — The vehicle of Padres and former Rays pitcher Blake Snell was struck by a suspected drunken driver Thursday night on the side of Interstate 5 after a San Diego police officer had stopped Snell for an alleged traffic violation, authorities said.

The Padres confirmed that Snell, who started Friday night against the Washington Nationals, was involved in a minor crash during a traffic stop.

The left-hander was evaluated by the Padres’ medical team Friday and cleared to take the mound.

“Physically, he’s fine,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said before Friday’s game. “But that can shake you up a little bit. But our guys checked him out (Friday). And we’ve talked to him. And he’s ready to pitch. So I think we probably got lucky.”

A passenger in Snell’s vehicle complained of pain, but was evaluated and released at the scene without going to a hospital, California Highway Patrol spokesperson Officer Jesse Matias said.

The incident occurred just before 11 p.m. Thursday, about an hour after the Padres lost the opener of a four-game set to the Nationals. It happened on north I-5 near Carmel Valley Road and state Route 56, according to Matias.

It was unclear what prompted the San Diego police officer to make the stop on Snell’s vehicle. But after pulling off the side of the interstate, a suspected drunken driver struck Snell’s stopped vehicle.

The Highway Patrol did not confirm Snell’s name, but identified him as a 29-year-old resident of Lynnwood, Washington. His passenger was a 22-year-old man from Shoreline, Washington. Snell is a graduate of Shorewood High School in Shoreline.

San Diego police initially said it was the police officer’s vehicle that was struck. A spokesperson for the Police Department was looking into details of the incident Friday afternoon.

Highway Patrol officers arrested the other driver, a 39-year-old Vista man, on suspicion of driving under the influence, Matias said. Jail records showed he remained in custody Friday afternoon at the downtown San Diego Central Jail.

Snell started for the Padres on Friday night having posted an 0.94 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break.

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