Here's the catch: Orioles right-hander David Hess will start Saturday after taking football to eye

Despite being sent to an ophthalmologist after taking a football to his left eye during a game of catch, Orioles right-hander David Hess will make his next start as scheduled Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hess was throwing a football around with teammates before the Orioles’ 14-2 loss to the Rays in the Tropicana Field outfield when he was hit with the point of the football in the eye.

After visiting a local eye doctor, Hess has some inflammation but no abrasion. He was given anti-inflammatory eye drops.

“That’s just going out there and having some fun,” Hess said. “Obviously something went wrong, so it’s good to go. Just fortunate and it’s something that we’re going to try not let happen again.

“For me immediately, I was just trying to make sure I could see. And once I could see, I knew I was OK. So that was good. But definitely something I’ve got to be careful with going forward.”

In the second inning, Hess was seen in the Orioles dugout wearing an LSU football helmet, a result of his teammates having some fun with Hess once they knew he was OK.

“I could not entirely tell you where the LSU helmet came from,” he said after Friday’s game. “It appeared in the second inning and I was told to wear it, so I wore it.”

Tossing the football around is a common practice before games, as is playing soccer or throwing a frisbee around, and in some ways it helps with arm strength. But it has led to injuries in the past. Last year, outfielder Michael Bourn suffered a broken finger trying to catch a football during spring training, and that essentially ended his chance of making the Orioles’ Opening Day roster.

Hess said the incident won’t prevent him from participating in the team’s pregame football sessions, but he said he’ll have to be more careful.

“I think going out there and playing around, that’s just a part of being an athlete,” Hess said. “We want to go out and maybe toss around a football or a frisbee or whatever. This is one of those times when kind of a freak accident happens.

“So I guess next time I’ve got to move my head or catch the ball.”

eencina@baltsun.com

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