A paramedic was in stable condition Sunday night after being struck in the head by a hard-hit foul ball that screamed into the Houston Astros dugout during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
The game briefly was halted and Astros players looked on in shock as the paramedic walked out of the dugout with a bloodied towel to his temple. With Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole, the Game 3 starter, accompanying him, he was taken to the clubhouse, placed on a cart and taken to the hospital, according to the Houston Chronicle. He was alert and sitting up.
The man, whose identity was not revealed, is a supervisor for Harris County Emergency Corps and was working as the Astros’ paramedic. He is one of two who alternate working Astros games.
Michael Brantley, who hit the foul ball, watched in apparent distress from outside the batter’s box as the man was treated in the dugout and Manager A.J. Hinch came out to speak with his hitter. “I’ll keep that between us,” Brantley said. “I did appreciate it, though. My thoughts and prayers are with him and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.” George Springer had his arm around Brantley when the two took their places in the outfield after the inning.
One fan described the scene as “heart wrenching” to Houston’s ABC affiliate. “We didn’t know who it was,” Cindy Taylor said. “It was in the dugout, home dugout, and we weren’t sure who got hit.”
Although several MLB teams, including the Astros, extended protective netting after several fans were injured by foul balls, the dugouts themselves are not protected. The Astros’ netting went up Aug. 19, almost two months after a 2-year-old girl sitting beyond the netting suffered a fractured skull when hit by a foul ball struck by Albert Almora Jr. of the Chicago Cubs.
The Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals also extended their netting during the season and a number of other teams have announced plans to do so before the 2020 season.