Dutch pitcher in hospital after hiking incident in Australia

BRISBANE, Australia — Netherlands international pitcher Loek van Mil is in a Canberra hospital with serious head injuries while hiking over the weekend on the outskirts of the Australian capital.

The Courier-Mail newspaper on Tuesday quoted Brisbane Bandits chief executive Mark Ready as saying Van Mil was in a critical but stable condition.

He was found by a hiker after hitting his head on rocks and sustaining multiple fractures and bleeding on the brain.

"He lay unconscious for 24 hours in bushland until he was found by a hiker," Ready was quoted as saying. "But he has gone from gravely injured to critical but stable. He's talking and managed a smile and a joke today."

The 34-year-old Van Mil, a 7-foot-1 (2.16-meter) closer, was credited with the save for the Bandits against the Canberra Cavalry in his last game on Thursday. He was in Canberra for a four-game series in the Australian Baseball League and was not with the team when he was injured.

He has had minor league contracts with Major League Baseball teams, and joined the Bandits this season after playing for Adelaide in the previous three ABL seasons.

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