It was all the support.
Yarbrough’s phone flooded with messages almost immediately after A’s first baseman Ryan Noda’s 106.2-mph liner struck the Royals lefty’s temple on May 7, causing multiple facial fractures.
And throughout the entire process of leaving the field, going to the emergency room and the hospital stay, Yarbrough felt “extremely blessed” by the care and attention from the Royals and medical professionals at KU Medical Center in Kansas City.
“Everyone really took care of me,” Yarbrough said Saturday. “From the medical staff here, to the doctors, to the team doctors, to getting over to KU and everyone at the ER was great and took really great care of me. I feel really blessed to have those people around me to help me feel better now and continue to progress.”
Yarbrough remained conscious after the accident, and the fractures he sustained did not require any surgery. He cleared concussion protocol last week and returned to the ballpark to begin light activity. And while he’s taking his recovery slowly, he had been itching to get back on the field and around the team.
Picking up a baseball again offered relief.
“Honestly, it’s been great doing that again,” Yarbrough said. “I love playing this game, that’s why I’m here because of how much I love and enjoy doing this. If anything, it was a good sign I was eager to get back to playing catch. Obviously I've been told to keep it under control and just make sure to do what I feel comfortable doing, but it’s great to be around guys again and be at the field again.”
Seeing Yarbrough at the field and in good spirits provided relief to his Royals teammates, too.
“Very special,” manager Matt Quatraro said. “I can’t imagine what that was like for him or his family to endure that. I feel really good for them, and for him, that he is OK. I feel very fortunate that that’s the outcome. He does seem like he’s back to his normal self.”
Yarbrough doesn’t have a timeline for return; he’s playing catch now and has a follow-up appointment with medical professionals in a couple of weeks to see how the fractures are healing. He understands there might be a mental hurdle to clear, too.
The 32-year-old has been in contact with several players who have gone through this same thing. Noda reached out to apologize for the accident. Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt, who was struck by a line drive in 2021 while pitching for the A’s, reached out to Yarbrough, too.
“That was really above and beyond of him,” Yarbrough said. “I really appreciated him saying he was thinking about me. Obviously, as a person who goes through it, once it happens to anyone else, it’s a scary moment that you can really understand. I really appreciated him reaching out.”
Yarbrough was unable to look at his phone for a week but is working his way through the messages from family, friends, former teammates and fans.
He doesn’t know when he’ll be back on the mound, but all things considered, he’s “doing really well.”
“It’s one of those freak accidents,” Yarbrough said. “It’s something that’s out of everyone’s control. It’s something that you can’t really avoid. It’s an unfortunate part of the game. Luckily, it doesn’t happen very often. Very blessed to be here right now. I’m feeling a lot better and progressing in the right direction.”