ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rick Ankiel was carted off the field with his head and neck immobilized after the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder slammed headfirst into the fence following a running catch Monday night.
Ankiel chased down Pedro Feliz's long drive in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies but couldn't stop himself from crashing into the padded center-field wall.
Ankiel stayed flat on his back for several minutes as teammates gathered around him, and the game was delayed about 15 minutes as a hush fell over Busch Stadium.
He was placed in a neck brace and strapped to a gurney before being carted off the field accompanied by team physician Dr. George Paletta and trainer Barry Weinberg. As he was wheeled off, Ankiel flashed a thumbs-up sign.
He was taken to a hospital for a CT scan and X-rays. Paletta said Ankiel was responsive on the field and never lost consciousness.
Paletta also told manager Tony La Russa that Ankiel showed signs of whiplash and puffiness in his face. La Russa said Ankiel hit the wall so hard he dented his cap.
A converted pitcher, Ankiel took 2 1/2 off-balance steps after making the tough catch and had the presence of mind to take the ball out of his glove before attempting to brace himself with his left arm. Still, his head appeared to absorb most of the blow when he slammed into the fence.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)