DJ expresses thanks for support

PITTSBURGH — As he was being carted off the field on Thursday night, Marlins reliever Dan Jennings raised his right hand to signal he was going to be alright.

It was the symbolic thumbs up that prompted a loud ovation from the stunned-silent crowd at PNC Park.

After being tested at a local hospital, it appears Jennings indeed is going to be just fine.

A CT scan came back negative, and Jennings was diagnosed with a concussion after being struck on the left side of the head on a comeback liner by Jordy Mercer.

The incident brought PNC Park to complete standstill in the seventh inning of the Pirates’ 7-2 win over the Marlins.

Jennings never lost consciousness, and he responded to questions, knowing where he was and what day it was.

After being tested at the hospital, Jennings used social media to express his gratitude to the fans and all those who have reached out to him.

On his @LtDanJennings Twitter account, Jennings tweeted: “@Pirates fans showed amazing support tonight – as always @Marlins fans supporting too.”

DJ also tweeted a medical update: “The scans were negative-it seems I’m going to be ok. The support shown tonight has been unbelievable, speechless. God is amazing.”

Another tweet read: “God was definitely watching over me tonight.”

Jennings’ injury is the latest reminder of how players risk so much every time they step on the field.

Miami pitcher Brian Flynn, who also has been a teammate of Jennings in the Minor Leagues, noted that he says a quick prayer before every inning.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who dealt with a concussion on a foul tip earlier in the season, says the time is now for baseball to explore more ways to protect pitchers, who are less than 60 feet from home plate after delivering a pitch.

“Hopefully they can find something that works that will protect pitchers,” Saltalamacchia said. “I know they’ve done a pretty good job protecting catchers. I think it’s time we need to start worrying about those guys, too.”

Joe Frisaro

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