San Francisco Giants first base coach Jose Alguacil got hit in the face by a foul ball Saturday during an exhibition game against the Royals. His nose was broken and he got a deep laceration on the side of his face. He required surgery and was still in the hospital yesterday, though he was improving.
The happened as a result of a check-swing foul ball off the bat of Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier while Alguacil was sitting in a folding chair outside of the Giants dugout. In spring training managers and some coaches routinely sit in this position, on the field, pretty close to the on-deck circle and the batter. It has always seemed like a dangerous place to be, and in this case, it was.
Alguacil will be back with the team in a day or two, but he won’t be coaching first base for a couple of weeks.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.