Witnesses who saw Cleveland pitcher John Smiley suffer a broken arm near the shoulder the night before were still somewhat in shock Sunday.
“I’d never seen anything like it,” Indian pitching coach Mark Wiley said.
Reliever Jason Jacome said, “My stomach turned.”
The 32-year-old left-hander, who figured in the Indians’ postseason plans, was preparing to face the Royals in Kansas City on Saturday night in his first start since tendinitis in his left shoulder and elbow sidelined him Aug. 30.
Near the end up his warmups, he threw a curveball and bystanders heard a crack, then a horrifying scream.
“Just imagine the shock of it,” pitcher Orel Hershiser said. “He was near the end of his warmups, just about to go into the game. That means he was throwing well, his arm felt good. If you’re getting some pain, you’d be starting to back off. But he was feeling fine and going after it. And then all of a sudden . . . “
All the players and coaches in the bullpen turned when they heard the bone snap.
“You could see it was deformed through the skin,” Jacome said. “He was in extreme pain. He was yelling. I’m sure it was agony. I hope I never have to see something like that again.”
Indian Manager Mike Hargrove said Smiley spent the night in St. Luke’s hospital and flew home Sunday.
Smiley was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in a trade July 31. Dr. Timothy Kremchek, the Reds’ orthopedic specialist, said Smiley had no problems in Cincinnati that could be linked to the broken arm.
Two other major leaguers broke their arms while pitching--Tom Browning and cancer-stricken Dave Dravecky.