GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The five-inch scar that runs down the right side of Evan Marshall's scalp is an unavoidable reminder that anything can happen -- and that anything can be overcome. Marshall still tools around in his Dodge Challenger Hellcat muscle car, although it is parked back home in Wichita,
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The five-inch scar that runs down the right side of Evan Marshall's scalp is an unavoidable reminder that anything can happen -- and that anything can be overcome. Marshall still tools around in his Dodge Challenger Hellcat muscle car, although it is parked back home in Wichita, Kan. Wife Allie and dog Butters remain his rocks and his foundation.
And he still throws 94 mph despite a career that was briefly stalled after he was struck in the head by a line drive on Aug. 4, 2015, while pitching in a Triple-A game for Arizona's Reno affiliate.
It could have been a tragic detour. The ball, traveling 105 mph, struck Marshall in the right temple. He suffered a fractured skull, and 90 minutes later he underwent emergency surgery to relieve swelling and bleeding of the brain.
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Marshall made such progress that he was back in the Majors with Arizona in 2016 and with Seattle last season. He occasionally is asked to take part in programs put on by the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, which supervised his outpatient therapy. Barrow uses Marshall as a model of complete recovery.
A National League West scout contacted Cleveland manager Terry Francona after Marshall signed with the Indians over the winter.
"He said, 'That's my pick to click,'" Francona said. "He said, 'His ball, there's a lot to like.'"
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Marshall, who relies on a sinking fastball that moves, really liked what he saw from the Indians while he was deciding where to go in free agency, and the organization has only become more attractive during his time in camp.
"You look around, you see [Corey] Kluber, you see [Carlos] Carrasco. Obviously I knew [Trevor] Bauer," said Marshall, who was drafted in the fourth round by the D-backs in 2011, the same year they took Bauer third overall.
"There are some big names in here, and you see how hard they work," Marshall said. "Everything behind the scenes, you understand why they are as successful as they are. They earn every inch that they get."
A non-roster invitee on a team that has a reputation of giving everyone in camp a fair shake, Marshall is vying for a place in a strong Cleveland bullpen that appears to have a least one job open after the offseason losses of setup men Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith.
"This is a really great team, and they lost some assets in free agency," said the 27-year-old Marshall.
"So there's an opportunity where they have a couple of holes that they are going to ask guys in-house to step up to try to take, or look for it elsewhere. I would like to try to be that elsewhere."
Marshall, a right-hander, has given up a run in two appearances this spring. He pitched a scoreless inning and was credited with the victory in Thursday's 8-7 win over the Dodgers.
"Very good," Francona said of that outing. "The first couple, guys are getting their legs under them. The ball came out very, very well. I think we were all pleased. Velocity, movement. A couple of good breaking balls"
Marshall was a bullpen mainstay as a rookie in 2014, when he was 4-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 57 appearances with the D-backs after being recalled early in the season. He recorded the victory in his first Major League appearance and had holds in his next two outings while developing into a primary setup man.
A Spring Training injury set him back in '15, and he spent much of that season in Reno before the injury.
The fact that Marshall is back on the mound is testament to not only the treatment he received, but also his will to return.
'It was a severe brain injury," Dr. Christina Kwasnica, the medical director of rehabilitation at Barrow, said three weeks after Marshall was struck.
"It was a hit right in the wrong part of the skull, where the skull is thin. Right below there is an artery, and so he had immediate bleeding. And even with the fastest medical care you could get, he was very close to having a very bad outcome for this."
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com.