Cleveland — This is Doug Teter’s first full season as the Tigers’ head trainer, but he handled a tough situation Wednesday night like a seasoned vet.
“Teter did a really nice job calming everything down,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He handled it very well.”
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann took a line drive in the face on his seventh pitch of the game against the Cleveland Indians. A 91-mph pitch was struck with an exit velocity of 105.6 mph off the bat of Jason Kipnis, and it glazed off Zimmermann’s shoulder, then into the right side of his face.
“It was terrifying and it made a terrifying sound,” Gardenhire said. “Teter was great. He talked him through it, telling him you’re OK. Your eye socket is fine. He did everything a good trainer would do to soothe his mind.
“Teter did a super job of calming him down so that he understood there wasn’t blood all over the place. Because you don’t know. He relaxed his mind out there and got him through it.”
Zimmermann walked off on his own power. It was diagnosed as a right jaw contusion. He passed the concussion protocol and had additional X-rays taken to make sure there was no fracture.
“Obviously, it could have been worse,” said Zimmermann, who is expected to make his next start in six days. “But it still didn’t feel that great. And I know it will feel worse tomorrow. But I’ll be good to go.”
Teter has been in the Tigers organization for 26 years and was the assistant trainer the last 12 years. He replaced Kevin Rand, who was promoted to senior director of medical services.
“You just reassure the athlete and then just deal with what you have in front of you,” said Teter, who represented the Tigers at last year’s All-Star game. “You don’t sit there and go through a checklist while you’re doing it. You just go. Your heart rate races. You’re just worried about him at that point and making sure you’re doing everything you can for him.”
The first thing Teter checked was Zimmermann’s breathing.
“You look for an airway,” he said. “You’re looking for blood. You’re making sure he’s got a pulse, the basic stuff. He was out there talking to me. You knew he was breathing. You knew his heart was working.
“You knew everything was systemically fine.”