Bellingham Mariner right-hander Rick Green got a one-in-a-million break the other night - but not the kind he wanted.
Green, 22, a rookie from Huntington Beach, Calif., fractured the humerus bone in his right arm while delivering a pitch in the third inning of a Northwest League game against the Everett Giants at Joe Martin Field.
Bellingham Manager P.J. Carey said Green was ``throwing strong, in command'' of a 0-0 game Thursday night when a fastball flew out of his hand and bounced wildly toward the Everett on-deck circle.
Some observers said they heard a loud pop as the ball left his hand. Green fell on the front of the mound.
``When I got to the mound, Rick said, `It's broken,' '' Carey said.
Spyder Webb, Bellingham trainer, said he'd never seen anything like it except when it happened to San Francisco's Dave Dravecky on TV.
``It's a one in a million thing. We're not really prepared for it,'' Webb said. ``It was like he fell out of a 20-story building and hit the ground.''
Green's arm was placed in a splint at Bellingham's St. Joseph's Hospital. He will undergo further examination Tuesday in a Los Angeles orthopedic clinic.
Green, signed as a free agent last fall, has a 1-3 record but ranks among the Northwest League leaders with a 2.17 earned-run average.
``It's a pretty severe injury for a pitcher,'' Carey said. Rick's absence ``is going to hurt a little. He was one of the older guys on our staff, kind of a steadying influence.''
``It's lucky he's a tough kid,'' Webb said. ``If anyone can make it back, it would be Rick. He's a determined young man.''
A couple of innings after Green's mishap, Bellingham Fire Department aid cars were called to treat Baby M's shortstop Lipso Nava. Apparently ``frustrated and upset'' over taking a called third strike and misplaying a ball in the field, he collapsed in the dugout after hyperventilating on the bench. He watched the rest of the game, but is going to have some tests this week, Webb said.
Before Thursday's game ended, the city firemen returned to put out a blaze in an apartment building next to the field.
``A fire, too. Crazy stuff,'' Webb said.
Catcher Chris Howard drew plaudits from Williamsport Manager Rich Morales.
``He's catching, throwing, hitting,'' Morales said.
In the Bills' 4-3 Eastern League victory at New Britain Thursday night, Howard drove in the winning run with two out in the top of the ninth inning, then picked a New Britain runner off first base for the last out of the game.
Speaking of Howard's arm, Morales said, ``If a pitcher gives him a fair shot, the runner's out.''
Williamsport second-baseman Shane Letterio, who tripled and scored the winning run in Thursday's game, also made an error - his first in 43 games, when a ground ball took a funny hop and bounced out of his glove.
Jeff Hooper, Bills' catcher-designated hitter from Newport High School and Washington State, had five hits in two games. . . . Outfielder-third baseman Patrick Lennon missed several games because of a pinched nerve in his neck. His playing status was reported as ``day to day.'' . . . Williamsport's Mike Gardiner (8-6, 1.70 ERA) and Rich DeLucia (6-5, 2.06) continue to rank 1-2 on the Eastern League ERA list. Gardiner also leads in strikeouts with 109.
AROUND THE FARMS
- Calgary second baseman Todd Haney, whose .345 batting average is third-best among Pacific Coast League regulars, missed his first games of the season because of a stained right quadricep. . . . Cannon outfielder Dave Brundage hit safely in seven of eight games (12 for 35), raising his average to .301. . . . Shortstop Brian Giles had a 9-for-17 spurt and versatile Dave Cochrane had hits in six straight games.
- Bakersfield's 6-2 victory Thursday ended San Bernardino's 10-game winning streak.