ST. LOUIS - He was hit in the head with a life-threatening line drive one year ago. Monday night he got the call most baseball players dream of.
26-year-old rookie right-handed-pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon said that he always knew he would come back from the ball injury to the head that knocked him to the ground.
“I was hoping everybody would forget about it and notice me as a pitcher and not as a guy who got hit in the head,” said Poncedeleon.
He said that besides the support of his family, the Cardinals team and fans who follow him, his religious beliefs help speed up his recovery
“God, faith in him,” said Poncedeleon, “all the confidence comes from him, I have no confidence in myself unless it’s him.”
Poncedeleon who now has a dent in his head got to live out his dream getting called up for the first time during Monday night’s game against the Padres.
“The dent will always be there but that’s not what’s going to define me,” he said.
People heading to the game weighed in on what they call the rookie player’s remarkable recovery.
“He defies the odds,” said Megan Glenn of Springfield, MO. You get hit in the head and a brain injury who knows what that would be like but he’s able to come back.”
“It’s amazing what he’s been able to do,” said Jeremy Wachter of Kirkwood. “Getting hit in the head like that by a batted ball is really scary and everything he went through, the surgery, the recovery, it’s really impressive that he’s been able to come back the way he has.”
While some fans were excited to welcome Poncedeleon, others held mix feelings.
“It seems like everybody on the Cardinals is recovering,” said Bob Rubin of Crestwood, “it’s like everybody is hurt, it’s like our pitching staff has been hurt all year. I think they are just bringing people they think can help.”