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Nuts player has surgery on skull

Modesto Nuts infielder Maikol Gonzalez, who was hit in the right temple by a baseball during Tuesday's game, is resting comfortably in a San Jose hospital after undergoing surgery Friday to remove a blood clot and repair a small fracture in his skull.

Gonzalez, 24, was not playing in the game when a second-inning sharp foul line drive off the bat of left-hander Wendell Fairley sliced into the third base dugout.

"I'm not even sure it was a full swing," said Nuts manager Jerry Weinstein, who was standing only a few feet away. "I heard it hit and ducked and it hit Maikol on the side of the head and he just crumbled."

Nuts athletic trainer Chris Dovey immediately began tending to the briefly unconscious player, and the San Jose trainer sprinted from the first base dugout to help.

Within minutes, the stadium's emergency medical team was in the dugout, and the game was halted for 22 minutes while Gonzalez was stabilized and removed from the stadium on a stretcher.

Initial reports indicated that the trip to San Jose Regional Medical Center was only a precaution and that Gonzalez would be released.

"He was doing really well right after it happened, and they were keeping him in the ICU just to make sure everything was OK because he initially had a small bleed in his head," Dovey said.

"They needed to make sure it didn't get worse. They did another CT scan (Thursday) morning and found that a blood clot was forming. That's when they had to discuss surgery."

Gonzalez, a Venezuelan who attended Tusculum College in Tennessee, was joined at the hospital by his wife, Amanda, who flew in from their home in Florida. After getting a second opinion, they opted for surgery, which was performed Friday at 1 p.m.

"The surgery went well and they're very happy they went in because they found a little extra bleeding that they weren't aware of," Dovey said. "They also had to piece his skull fracture back together."

Gonzalez was fitted with a metal plate and screws to hold it in place while the fracture heals, and could be released from the hospital as early as Monday.

"He's done for the year and obviously he'll be getting follow-up scans and treatment, but we're not thinking about that right now," Dovey said.

Gonzalez is a repeat player this season in Modesto. He hit .282 in 111 games with the Nuts in 2009, but was sent back to Modesto this season to become a switch-hitter.

He's hitting .268 overall this season and has been excellent from the right side, hitting .368 against lefties and .234 against righties.

The entire team visited Gonzalez in the hospital following Thursday afternoon's victory over San Jose and found their teammate alert and resting comfortably.

"He was really good," Weinstein said. "You wouldn't know by looking or talking to him that anything was wrong."

Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at bvanderbeek@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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