Braves, Brewers visit child struck by foul ball
ATLANTA (AP) — The boy who was struck in the head by a foul ball at Turner Field was visited in the hospital by players from both the Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, providing a bit of comfort to the player who lined the ball into the stands.
Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez got a chance to meet with the child and his family on Wednesday. The victim has not been identified but was said to be 8 years old.
“When it’s a little kid, it’s on my chest,” Gomez said before the third in a four-game series against the Braves. “I get on my knees and pray to God that everything goes well with that kid.”
The boy was sitting behind Atlanta’s first-base dugout Tuesday night when he was struck by Gomez’s liner in the seventh inning. The Brewers hitter looked toward the stands with anguished concern, while Braves pitcher Julio Teheran crouched on the mound and grimaced. The boy was hustled up the aisle, treated by medical personnel at the stadium and transported to a hospital.
Gomez left a message with the family after the game and went to the hospital before heading back to Turner Field. He said the child was in “great spirits.”
“I’m a father,” said Gomez, who also signed the ball that was fouled into the stands. “It was important to me to talk to him and have the opportunity to stay with him. He was really happy.”
The boy’s family requested privacy and asked that neither his condition nor the hospital where he was being treated be released, though the Braves said shortly after the game he was “conscious and talkative.”
Out of respect to the family, Gomez wouldn’t go into detail about the boy’s condition. But he urged fans to be more mindful of foul balls, especially when sitting in the especially dangerous zones along the first- and third-base lines.
“These are professional ballplayers hitting the ball. The ball comes really hard. It can kill you,” he said.
“I wanted to see him. I wanted to talk to him. Today I had the opportunity to go, and at least mentally I feel good. And I can perform today. Because I was so upset.”
Two members of the Braves, third baseman Chris Johnson and catcher Gerald Laird, went to the hospital right after Tuesday’s game. The child was asleep but Johnson dropped off a bat signed by the entire Atlanta team, while Laird signed one of his mitts for the youngster.
“It’s the least we can do as players,” Johnson said. “He’s a little kid. It was his first game.”
Johnson said the victim was 8 years old. The Braves released a statement wishing him “a speedy recovery.”
Teheran was clearly shaken by the incident, though he bounced back to pitch a six-hitter. Atlanta beat the Brewers 5-0.
“That was scary for me,” Teheran said. “I knew it hit somebody. It was fast and hard. No one had a chance to get out of the way.”
He sent his best wishes to the child.
“If anyone knows him, please let him know I hope he’s fine,” Teheran said.
AP freelance writer Amy Jinkner-Lloyd contributed to this report.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963