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Cozart, Reds survive fifth-inning scare with mild concussion, ringing ears

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

LOS ANGELES -- Already down Joey Votto (knee) and Scott Rolen (back), the Reds watched rookie shortstop Zack Cozart take a fastball to the head in Monday's 8-2 win and apparently came away not too much the worse for the wear.

Cozart was diagnosed with a mild concussion, passed some medical tests and could actually speak intelligently late Monday night after the scary moment with Chad Billingsley on the mound in the fifth inning.

"Obviously, I had a little headache, getting hit like that," Cozart said. "I had a little pressure in my head."

He also had some serious ringing in his ears. That's what kept him down on the ground for so long, he said. The ringing.

"I don't even really remember it, to be honest with you," Cozart said. "I remember it being pretty loud, and the ringing in my ears.

"After the ringing left, I sat there and Paul [Lessard, Reds trainer] said, 'How are you doing?' And I said, 'I think I'm actually doing pretty good.'"

The Reds yanked him at that point for precautionary reasons. Manager Dusty Baker noted that Cozart was "glassy-eyed."

"It was real loud," Baker said. "It reminded me of Goose Gossage hitting the Penguin [Ron Cey] in the World Series. I was on deck."

Late Monday, Cozart was on deck to be monitored throughout the evening to make sure he's OK. Cozart leads NL rookies in multi-hit games (22), runs (44), hits (74), total bases (121), doubles (29) and extra-base hits (29), so if any absence from the lineup would be no small thing for the Reds.

But, that's not a given. Baker and Co. will check with Cozart on Tuesday before making any decisions about his availability for the second game of the Dodgers' series.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the back of the clubhouse, Cozart's helmet was cracked.

At least, he heard it was cracked.

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