Baseball

Former Lafayette star Kearns hospitalized with irregular heartbeat

Miami Marlins left fielder Austin Kearns.
Miami Marlins left fielder Austin Kearns. ASSOCIATED PRESS

MIAMI — Miami Marlins outfielder Austin Kearns, a former Lafayette High School and Cincinnati Reds standout, was taken to a hospital with an irregular heartbeat before Sunday's game, and the team said he would be kept overnight for observation.

Kearns was originally in the lineup against Philadelphia, but after arriving at the ballpark he complained he didn't feel well and went to a hospital for evaluation. Further tests were planned, Manager Mike Redmond said after the game.

"He's resting well," Redmond said. "It looks like everything is fine for now. We'll probably know more Monday."

The 32-year-old Kearns complained of an elevated heart rate when he arrived at Marlins Park on Sunday morning. He was checked out by the Marlins' trainers, who quickly sent him to the hospital.

"Obviously, he's a leader in the clubhouse," Marlins reliever and fellow Kentuckian Jon Rauch said of Kearns, who was named Kentucky's Mr. Baseball in 1998. "You guys saw what he was able to do last year and having a veteran around like that. Plus, he's just a standup guy and a good teammate. ... I've known him a long time. You never want to see anything like that happen. You wish him the best for a speedy recovery."

Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey told MLB.com that Kearns "is a great player, but he's a much better friend. I think everybody in this clubhouse feels that way about Austin. He's a good man.

"Normally, he's one of the first guys to greet you. He greets everybody, and he's always aware of what's going on in your life. To guys in this clubhouse, in this moment, our season may not be how we want it to be, as we look at it right now. I think we have some bigger things to worry about."

Justin Ruggiano was scratched from the lineup Saturday because of a tight right groin. The plan was to give Ruggiano Sunday off, but he was called upon to start in right field in place of Kearns.

The Marlins lost 2-1 Sunday.

Miami has been beset by injuries since the end of spring training. The day before the season started, starting pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez were placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. First baseman Casey Kotchman and star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton have been slowed by injuries.

Kearns is 0-for-10 this season, his 12th in the major leagues.

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