HOUSTON (AP) — A young fan at Wednesday night’s game between the Cubs and Astros was struck by a foul ball hit by Albert Almora Jr., shaking up the Chicago center fielder.
Almora hit a fourth-inning line drive into the stands down the third base line, where it hit a young girl. He immediately put his hands on his head and took a couple of steps toward the stands. He then fell to his knees near the plate and was consoled by teammate Jason Heyward and manager Joe Maddon.
It took several minutes for Almora, who appeared to be crying, to compose himself and continue the at-bat, and players from both teams also appeared shaken up by the scene.
The girl was picked up by a man who appeared to be with her and he dashed up the stairs not long after she was struck. The Astros did not provide an immediate update on her condition, but a photo taken by The Associated Press showed the girl conscious and crying as she was whisked away and nearby fans looked on.
After the fourth inning, Almora, who still appeared to be upset, approached a security guard in the stands near where the girl was sitting and spoke to the guard before the two embraced.
Like all major league stadiums, Minute Maid Park has netting to protect fans from foul balls. But on the third base side in Houston, it only extends to the end of the visiting team’s dugout. The girl was sitting in what looked to be the third or fourth row about 10 feet past where the netting ends.
Following recommendations from Major League Baseball, by the start of the 2018 season all 30 big league teams had expanded their protective netting to at least the far ends of the dugouts after several fans were injured by foul balls in 2017.
At Yankee Stadium in May 2017, a boy was struck on the head by a portion of Chris Carter’s broken bat. A fan sitting beyond the first base dugout was hit by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Aaron Judge in July of that year. And in September, a young girl was injured by another 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier and was hospitalized.