Walking around practice fields for a week made me keenly aware of just how damn dangerous it can be out there. There are balls flying all over the place. It takes a few days to get over the impulse to duck and cover every time you see a ball flying out of the corner of your eye. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the fact that the guys throwing, catching and hitting them were experts in their field, it would be a freakin’ death trap during combined BP/fly-shagging practice.
And sadly, even with those experts out there, sometimes the ball has a mind of its own and leads to this kind of thing:
Padres bench coach Rick Renteria was taken to a hospital after being struck in the face by a line drive during Thursday morning’s practice. Manager Bud Black said a ball hit by outfielder Mike Baxter caromed off a protective screen and hit Renteria “square above the lips.”
It’s so bad that Renteria has to have reconstructive surgery because his teeth were [cringe] “pushed back in his mouth.” If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bury my head in a pillow and pretend that I never heard about this.