The Cal Poly baseball team’s best year in recent history, the 2014 season, ended with a 40-19 record and a top seed in the NCAA tournament. The team’s high standing can be attributed to its pitching, which would not have been possible without sophomore left-hander Matt Imhof.
Imhof compiled a 7-3 record that season with 95 strikeouts and a 2.74 ERA, which was good enough to make him first-team all conference. After his junior season, he was drafted 47th overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2014 MLB Draft and has been making his way up through the minor league ever since.
But that has all come to a halt because of what happened last week after a game with the Clearwater Threshers of the Class A Florida State League.
Imhof was stretching using a rubber resistance band anchored to a wall. Without warning, the metal brace broke off and hit him directly in the area of his right eye, fracturing his nose and two orbital bones as well as crushing his eye.
He confirmed on his Instagram page that he will be receiving a prosthetic eye during recovery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Fla. In a post showing him in a hospital bed with a bandage over his right eye, Imhof wrote “this has been the hardest week of my life but I’ve had amazing support from my family and friends to help me get through it.”
Though this accident could spell the end of his young career, Imhof remains optimistic, saying “I’m not dead. I’m gonna be alright, I’m gonna persevere, and I’m gonna succeed. It takes more than this to bring me down.”
Time will tell if and how well he can regain the form he had before this injury. The late Boston Red Sox right fielder Tony Conigliaro famously had an injury that damaged his left eye in 1967, but played another seven and a half seasons after that. In the meantime, his agent Adam Karon has asked for privacy for Imhof as he recovers from this injury.