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Marlins’ Counsell Has Broken Jaw

August 4, 1998 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ Florida Marlins second baseman Craig Counsell’s jaw was broken when hit by a fastball, and he won’t be able to eat solid food for five weeks, the team said Tuesday.

An oral surgeon and plastic surgeon performed surgery and wired Counsell’s jaw shut after he was injured Monday on a pitch from C.J. Nitkowski of the Houston Astros.

Counsell, who scored the winning run in the World Series last year, is expected to make a full recovery, and there’s a chance he’ll play again this season, the Marlins said. They placed him on the 15-day disabled list and recalled second baseman Luis Castillo from Triple-A Charlotte.


Counsell suffered a compound displaced fracture of the right jaw when he was hit on the right side of the face in the eighth inning. He was the third consecutive batter hit by Nitkowski, who tied a major-league record.

Nitkowski said he felt badly about hitting Counsell. The left-handed reliever declined to blame his wildness on a steady rain that fell during the final five innings of the game.

Two innings earlier, Counsell had extended his current hitting streak to nine games, a career high. The streak has lifted his average from .221 to .251.

Counsell, a fan favorite since joining Florida at midseason last year, is one of the few players from the World Series championship team still with the Marlins.

``We’ve had numerous phone calls from fans throughout the day,″ team spokesman Ron Colangelo said. ``They’re not just asking how he is, but where they can send something.″

Colangelo said correspondence for Counsell should be sent to Marlins community affairs manager Nancy Olson.

Castillo, 22, was a part-time starter for Florida in 1996 and 1997. He was hitting .286 at Charlotte with 41 stolen bases in 100 games.