Fan hit by line drive during Braves-Brewers game

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

MILWAUKEE -- A woman sitting several rows behind the Milwaukee Brewers' dugout was injured Monday night when she was hit by a line drive off the bat of Braves outfielderEury Perez.

The game between the Braves and Brewers was delayed for about nine minutes in the top of the ninth inning as medical personnel attended to the fan. She was helped to her feet before medics placed her on a stretcher and carried her up a flight of stairs to the stadium's first-level concourse. Her face was covered with a towel.

After the Braves completed a 5-3 victory, there was no immediate update from the Brewers on the fan's condition.

"That's just awful. Our prayers go out to her, for sure," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "You hate to see it. Hope she's able to recover and enjoy a game again. It's scary, very scary."

The frightening scene came about a month after Tonya Carpenter, a 44-year-old Massachusetts woman, was seriously injured when a broken bat flew into the stands at Fenway Park and struck her in the head. Police initially described Carpenter's injuries as life-threatening. Carpenter spent several days in the hospital, and her condition improved before she was transferred to a rehabilitation center.

In the wake of that incident, Major League Baseball said it would review fan safety at stadiums.

In this case, Perez lined a foul ball over Milwaukee's dugout along the first-base line. Andrelton Simmons, who was on first base, crouched and buried his head in his hands several times during the delay.

"As soon as I saw the ball hit hard that way, I just turned my head around. I knew the possibilities," Simmons said while slumped in a chair in front of his locker after the game, still in full uniform. "I heard from [first-base coach Terry] Pendleton what happened. He told me it wasn't good.

"When a ball is hit that hard into a crowded area, chances are somebody is going to get hit," he said. "You hope if somebody gets hit that it's in the arm or something. When somebody gets hits in the face, it's always going to end up bad."

One of the issues MLB is studying is whether the protective netting behind home plate should be extended.

"Man, sometimes you wish the net was bigger and covered the people that don't have a chance to react," Simmons said. "I wouldn't sit that close."

Perez, who wasn't available for comment after the game, crouched to the side of home plate as paramedics treated the women. Once play resumed, he grounded back to pitcher Neal Cotts to end the inning.

It has been a dangerous year in the stands at major league games.

In addition to Carpenter's injuries at Fenway Park, a young boy sitting in the front row in Philadelphia was hit by a line drive on June 19. The fan was seated along the first-base line when he was struck by a sharp foul ball off the bat of Philadelphia's Domonic Brown with two outs in the ninth inning. He was sent to a hospital for further evaluation.

The Chicago Cubs' game on April 20 at Pittsburgh was delayed after a woman was hit in the back of the head by a foul ball off the bat of Starlin Castro. The woman was standing in the first row behind home plate with her back to the field when Castro fouled a ball straight against the protective screen. The ball was hit with such force that it struck the fan. She gave a thumbs-up to nearby fans before being taken to a hospital.