Sampson leaves with bruised right hip
Pitcher hit with line drive, exits two innings later in game
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Chris Sampson took a Miguel Cabrera line drive off his right hip in the second inning of the Astros' game with the Tigers on Tuesday night, and by the fourth frame, Sampson's night was over, his hip sporting a brand new bruise.
Sampson, who is currently auditioning for the fifth starter spot, said he was not worried about long-term effects.
"It'll be fine," Sampson said. "I talked with [assistant athletic trainer] Rex Jones and he said it's just a deep bruise."
Sampson said when he was first hit by the line drive, he felt enough adrenaline to where the pain wasn't affecting him. He tried to keep moving around in the dugout between innings to prevent the hip area from tightening up, but "every time I went back out, it would get a little tighter and a little tighter. I finally started feeling it in the [fourth] inning."
In the fourth, Sampson yielded singles to Magglio Ordonez and Cabrera before giving up a two-run triple to Carlos Guillen. Shortly after, manager Cecil Cooper, pitching coach Dewey Robinson and Jones made a visit to the mound, and after a brief conversation, Sampson and Jones headed to the clubhouse.
"Being a Spring Training game, I didn't want to push anything and end up hurt anything else because of altering mechanics due to my legs," Sampson said. "When pitching coach Dewey Robinson came out, he asked how it was and I told him it stiffened up, that I felt it at the end of the delivery. He goes, 'All right, we'll get you out of here.'"
Sampson is competing with Woody Williams and Jack Cassel for the final spot in the rotation. If he doesn't make the rotation, Sampson could join the bullpen to start the season. The final decision will probably arrive after the Astros' exhibition game with the Tigers on Saturday in Houston.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.