Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar is lucky to be alive. He was hit in the face by a foul ball while standing in the dugout during an exhibition game in Kissimmee, Fla.
Here’s video from a fan as the 54-year-old Salazar was loaded into an ambulance and airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
He has multiple facial fractures and possible damage to his left eye, but doctors have ruled out brain damage, said a Braves spokesman.
“We are just blessed that Luis is alive,” Braves general manager Frank Wren told The Associated Press after St. Louis beat Atlanta 6-1 in the game. “It was a freak accident.”
Wren said Salazar was unconscious when an ambulance drove onto the field in the first inning to help the former big leaguer. He said Salazar was hit near his nose, toward his left eye.
“That was the worst thing I have ever seen on the field,” said Braves star Chipper Jones. “He wasn’t awake at all. He was out of it. I just looked at him to see if he was breathing. I thought his life might be in danger.”
Jones was on first base when the accident occurred. He said Salazar was leaning against a dugout railing and fell backward, hitting his head on the concrete floor.
“First he got hit, then he fell backward and hit his head on the floor of the dugout,” Jones said.
Salazar played for San Diego, Detroit, the Cubs and the White Sox from 1980 to 1992. The third baseman even played in the 1984 World Series.
During his 1,302-game career, Salazar batted .261. He had 179 home runs, 653 RBIs, 438 runs scored, 1,070 hits, 144 doubles, 33 triples and 117 stolen bases.
Salazar was gearing up to manage the Braves’ Class A team in Lynchburg, Va. He was the Double-A hitting coach for the LA Dodgers for the past three seasons.