Ratliff Inching His Way Back

Sean Ratliff sustained one of the worst baseball injuries imaginable back in Spring Training when he took a liner right below his eye in Luis Salazar fashion. Recovering from the injury since then, he says he is starting to get closer to possibly returning after he made his way down to Instructs recently.

"Zach Lutz just fouled a ball off – it's one of those places where the on-deck circle is way too close to home plate on those back fields – it didn't have anywhere to go," Ratliff recounted. "It was one of those unfortunate things that was bound to happen eventually."

He took a line drive right under his right eye with just a few days left in Spring Training, fracturing several bones in his face, dislocating his jaw, and requiring 25 stitches. In fact it was it so hard that it even fractured his left sinus despite being hit on the other side of his face.

While all of that alone is enough to handle, the biggest result from the accident has been the biggest reason why he missed the entire 2011 season.

"It didn't knock me out," he said. "I got up and everybody was surprised that I was on my feet. I got there, they stitched me up, they did some x-rays and they found all of the breaks. I didn't know the extent of my eye injury until the next day.

"Our head trainer said we should get my eye looked at for good measure and found out – it's called a giant tear but basically it's a detachment of the retina. That's been the big issue here with why I haven't come back from it as of now."

The trainers got him to the emergency room within minutes of getting beaned and it required immediate surgery. Ratliff also had laser surgery and that had him pretty much face down looking at the floor for hours on end per day for almost a month to make sure it healed properly.

About a month ago they finally allowed him to put a contact lens in so he could see better and his doctors believe it's going to take a few more months for it to be as good as it's possibly going to be.

"With the contact in and my two eyes working together hopefully it should be 20/20 if everything goes well. Right now I'm 20/100 a month out, which isn't terrible. I put the contact in and went straight to Instructional League.

"I called our guys and told them that I'm losing my mind sitting here doing nothing. I've been down for five months and they're letting me work out and do some baseball stuff. I said ‘I have to go, I have to come down and get back to work'."

His workout routine pretty much consists of running, lifting, light throwing, and even hitting off of a tee these days.

"Five months of not being allowed by the doctors to work out at all is kind of murder to your physical conditioning. I'm trying to get back into shape. I'm running, lifting a lot, and been able to play catch for the first time in five months.

"I've been hitting off the tee and doing some soft-tossing. It's coming along well. It's not perfect but they're saying it's going to get better so I'm just praying that it keeps going smoothly."

His accident was just two weeks after Braves' minor league coach Luis Salazar lost his eye in a similar fashion and Ratliff knows just how lucky he has been through this whole ordeal.

"It's still not a guarantee that I'm going to see well enough to ever play the game again," he admitted. "It's a scary thought but it's just one of those things that you have to work through.

"It's funny how much something like this makes you realize just how much you love the game and how big a part of your life it is. I'm very lucky it happened the way it happened. A half of an inch on impact and we're singing a whole different tune right now."

All things considered, to be back at Instructs and resuming some baseball activities after everything Ratliff has been through is an incredible sign and one that harvests even more long-term optimism.

"I'm as optimistic as I can be at this point," he said. "I don't want to take things too far ahead. All of the news I've been getting from all of my doctors appointments that I've had from the first surgery has been very optimistic and all of my doctors have said the way my eye has been is nothing short of a miracle."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"Zach Lutz just fouled a ball off – it's one of those places where the on-deck circle is way too close to home plate on those back fields – it didn't have anywhere to go,\" Ratliff recounted. \"It was one of those unfortunate things that was bound to happen eventually.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe took a line drive right under his right eye with just a few days left in Spring Training, fracturing several bones in his face, dislocating his jaw, and requiring 25 stitches. In fact it was it so hard that it even fractured his left sinus despite being hit on the other side of his face.
\r\n
\r\nWhile all of that alone is enough to handle, the biggest result from the accident has been the biggest reason why he missed the entire 2011 season.
\r\n
\r\n\"It didn't knock me out,\" he said. \"I got up and everybody was surprised that I was on my feet. I got there, they stitched me up, they did some x-rays and they found all of the breaks. I didn't know the extent of my eye injury until the next day.
\r\n
\r\n\"Our head trainer said we should get my eye looked at for good measure and found out – it's called a giant tear but basically it's a detachment of the retina. That's been the big issue here with why I haven't come back from it as of now.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe trainers got him to the emergency room within minutes of getting beaned and it required immediate surgery. Ratliff also had laser surgery and that had him pretty much face down looking at the floor for hours on end per day for almost a month to make sure it healed properly.
\r\n
\r\nAbout a month ago they finally allowed him to put a contact lens in so he could see better and his doctors believe it's going to take a few more months for it to be as good as it's possibly going to be.
\r\n
\r\n\"With the contact in and my two eyes working together hopefully it should be 20/20 if everything goes well. Right now I'm 20/100 a month out, which isn't terrible. I put the contact in and went straight to Instructional League.
\r\n
\r\n\"I called our guys and told them that I'm losing my mind sitting here doing nothing. I've been down for five months and they're letting me work out and do some baseball stuff. I said ‘I have to go, I have to come down and get back to work'.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis workout routine pretty much consists of running, lifting, light throwing, and even hitting off of a tee these days.
\r\n
\r\n\"Five months of not being allowed by the doctors to work out at all is kind of murder to your physical conditioning. I'm trying to get back into shape. I'm running, lifting a lot, and been able to play catch for the first time in five months.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been hitting off the tee and doing some soft-tossing. It's coming along well. It's not perfect but they're saying it's going to get better so I'm just praying that it keeps going smoothly.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis accident was just two weeks after Braves' minor league coach Luis Salazar lost his eye in a similar fashion and Ratliff knows just how lucky he has been through this whole ordeal.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's still not a guarantee that I'm going to see well enough to ever play the game again,\" he admitted. \"It's a scary thought but it's just one of those things that you have to work through.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's funny how much something like this makes you realize just how much you love the game and how big a part of your life it is. I'm very lucky it happened the way it happened. A half of an inch on impact and we're singing a whole different tune right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nAll things considered, to be back at Instructs and resuming some baseball activities after everything Ratliff has been through is an incredible sign and one that harvests even more long-term optimism.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm as optimistic as I can be at this point,\" he said. \"I don't want to take things too far ahead. All of the news I've been getting from all of my doctors appointments that I've had from the first surgery has been very optimistic and all of my doctors have said the way my eye has been is nothing short of a miracle.\"
\r\n
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