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.