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Piazza Struck In Head With Bat

All-Star catcher Mike Piazza of the New York Mets left Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a slight concussion and a cut on his forehead after getting hit in the head by a bat.

The Dodgers also lost ace right-hander Kevin Brown after six innings because of a bruised right leg, after getting hit with a line drive off the bat of Edgardo Alfonzo.

Gary Sheffield took a big swing at Mike Hampton's breaking pitch, and the bat struck Piazza on the right side of his forehead. He was led off the field bleeding and taken to the clubhouse, where he received one stitch to close the wound.

The Mets said Piazza should be back in the lineup on Friday.

Piazza, leading the National League in All-Star voting, is hitting .372 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs. He has been one of the Mets' best hitters recently, with nine homers and 20 RBIs in his last 23 games.

Brown's injury occurred just hours after the Dodgers placed catcher Todd Hundley on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained abdominal oblique muscle in his right rib cage.

Alfonzo, who homered earlier in the game against Brown, hit a liner that struck the right-hander with such force that it ricocheted into foul territory.

Brown chased the ball down just outside the first-base line, grabbed it with his bare hand and in the same motion whipped an accurate sidearm throw to first for the out while flying toward the dugout and stumbling to regain his balance.

Manager Davey Johnson and assistant trainer Matt Wilson sprinted out of the dugout to check on Brown, who made one practice pitch and got Piazza to ground out. Alan Mills relieved Brown in the seventh with the Dodgers leading 2-1.

Brown entered with a 4-1 record and a 2.57 ERA. He was among the top four in the league last season with 18 victories and a 3.00 ERA. Brown, in the second year of a seven-year, $105 million contract, was on the 15-day disabled list earlier this season after breaking his finger attempting to bunt against the Mets at Shea Stadium.

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