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Newsday (New York)

 

Yankees players were calling for more protective netting in front of fans at the Stadium after a child was injured by a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against the Twins.

The Yankees said the child was being treated at an area hospital, but released no other information because of health privacy laws.

"The child who was struck with a batted ball today was given first aid at the ballpark and is receiving medical attention at an area hospital," the team said. "The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, prevents the team from giving more information. We will have no further comment at this time."

Frazier said he watched as the line drive jumped off his bat and headed down the leftfield line. He said he saw the ball hooking, and then he said he saw it hit the child.

"I thought of my kids, you know? I have two kids under three years old . . . ," he said after the game, his voice cracking and eyes glassy. "It was terrible. I'm shaken up a bit."

Major League Baseball announced a series of initiatives in 2015 in response to the increasing number of batted-ball injuries to fans. The recommendation, aimed at protecting spectators better in high-risk areas, was for netting to shield line-drive foul balls at all field-level seats that are located between the near ends of both dugouts.

In May, New York City Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. introduced legislation for safety netting to be extended to the ends of both dugouts to protect fans. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.

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"No one should ever go to a baseball game and leave severely injured," Espinal said in a statement. "Nor should any player have to feel the guilt associated with injuring a fan, especially when that injury could have been prevented by safety nets."

Netted areas were increased at 10 ballparks this season, including at the Mets' Citi Field - where the netting, added during the All-Star break, extends well past third base.

The Yankees extended their netting slightly in the offseason, but only to the very beginning of each dugout on each side. A source close to the team said it was likely that the Yankees, too, would add more netting in the offseason.

"We need it," Aaron Judge said.

Didi Gregorius agreed, as did Frazier.

"I think the netting should be up," Frazier said. "I think every stadium should have it. We're not at that point yet, but hopefully we take a look at all this and we figure something out."

Players were visibly shaken after the child was injured Wednesday, and the game was delayed about four minutes.

With two on and two out in fifth, Frazier hit a 94-mph fastball into the Legends seats up the leftfield line. The ball struck the child, who was carried out as players on the field watched.

After it happened, Frazier squatted and then dropped to one knee, overcome with emotion. Matt Holliday, on second base, appeared to be tearing up, while Jacoby Ellsbury, the runner on first, looked shaken. Minnesota players on the field shook their heads sadly, Judge stood vigil on the top step of the Yankees dugout, and those in the Twins' dugout - closest to the incident - hung over the railing and watched the child being carried away.

"You don't want that to happen, especially to a kid," said Gregorius, who was inside and said he saw the incident on video.

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September 21, 2017
 
 
 

 

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