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Mariners prospect Sanchez improves after accident

Pitcher remains unconscious and in critical condition in a Venezuelan hospital

Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez showed signs of improvement on Wednesday, but he remains unconscious and in critical condition in a Venezuelan hospital after sustaining a head injury in a boating accident in his home country last week.

A CT scan on Sanchez, 20, revealed reduced swelling in the pitcher's head and neck area on Wednesday afternoon, according to agent Rafa Nieves. The pitcher also moved his legs, Nieves said.

Two head injury specialists from Caracas were scheduled to examine Sanchez on Wednesday night to determine whether to move the injured pitcher from the eastern coastal city of Carupano, where the accident occurred, back to Caracas or send him to the United States for treatment. Another surgery on Sanchez's skull in Carupano on Thursday is also an option.

Sanchez sustained a double skull fracture and a brain hematoma after he was struck by a watercraft while swimming on a beach last Friday. He was rushed into surgery in a nearby hospital and is using a breathing tube and a ventilator.

The six-foot, 255-pound right-hander was ranked as the Mariners' 11th-best prospect by last year. Sanchez went 7-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 23 starts for Double-A Jackson, where he was the second-youngest player in the Southern League.

Sanchez was regarded as one of Venezuela's top young pitching prospects when the Mariners signed him for a reported $2.5 million bonus in 2011 as a 16-year-old out of Rio Chico, Venezuela. He made 15 starts with Class A Everett in 2012, going 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA, then posted a 6-6 record and 2.78 ERA in 20 starts for Class A Clinton in 2013 before being promoted to Double-A last season.

Sanchez was preparing to report to Minor League camp.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB.
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