Rays minor leaguer injured by a foul ball while sitting in dugout

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Rays minor leaguer Garrett Whitley was struck by a foul ball while he was sitting in the dugout today during the Rays game against the Orioles in Sarasota. He was hit in the face. After the game Rays manager Kevin Cash told Topkin that Whitley never lost consciousness and “wasn’t bleeding much,” but that he was sent to a Sarasota hospital for further testing.

It’s probably worth noting that there are seats in the dugout that are farther away from the batter than some seats in the stands. Seats those opposed to the expansion of protective netting over the past few years argued should not have been so covered because “people should just get off their phones and pay attention to the game.”

I presume a professional player in the dugout was not on his phone and that his response time to a batted ball is many, many times faster than anyone sitting in the stands. The fact is, paying 100% attention at all times while someone is batting is an extremely unrealistic ask and that some modicum of protection is more than reasonable and sensible. One would hope it wouldn’t take people getting injured to convince others of that.

Here’s hoping Whitley is OK and that his injuries are not serious.

Kinsler back with Rangers as special assistant to GM Young

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Former Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler returned to the team as a special assistant to general manager Chris Young, his teammate in the organization’s minor league system nearly two decades ago.

Young said that Kinsler, who was part of the franchise’s only two World Series teams in 2010 and 2011, will be heavily involved in player development and providing mentorship to both players and staff.

Kinsler, a four-time All-Star, was part of a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, a year before his retirement. Kinsler played 14 seasons in the major leagues and spent the last three years in the front office of the San Diego Padres as a special assistant in baseball operations and player development. The 40-year-old has been living in the Dallas area, as he did throughout his playing career.

Kinsler played for the U.S. in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and Israel in last summer’s Olympics, and he will manage Israel in next month’s WBC.

Young and Kinsler were teammates for several weeks at Double-A Frisco in the summer of 2004, the same year the pitcher made his big league debut. They were in big league spring training together in 2005, then Young was traded after that season.

A 17th-round draft pick by Texas in 2003, Kinsler played 1,066 games for the Rangers from 2006-13, hitting .273 with 156 homers, 539 RBIs and 172 stolen bases. He hit .311 with a .422 on-base percentage in 34 postseason games. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame last summer.

Kinsler hit .269 with 257 homers, 909 RBIs and 243 stolen bases in 1,888 career games overall with Texas, Detroit (2014-17), the Los Angeles Angels (2018), Boston (2018), and San Diego (2019). He is one of only two MLB second baseman with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in multiple seasons, and had the only six-hit cycle in a nine-inning game since 1900 on April 15, 2009.