BOSTON (AP) — A woman bleeding from the head was carried out of the Fenway Park stands after being hit by a broken bat Friday night, and police said her injuries were life threatening.
Boston police spokesman David Estrada confirmed the fan was struck by the bat during a game between the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox.
The woman was carried out of the ballpark on a stretcher after the top of the second inning. She was hit when Oakland's Brett Lawrie broke his bat on a groundout to second base for the second out of the inning.
After the third out, the game was delayed while the fan was tended to in the first few rows of seats between home plate and the third base dugout. She was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"You try to keep her in your thoughts and, hopefully, everything's all right and try to get back to the task at hand," Lawrie said when asked how he was able to refocus after what happened. "Hopefully everything's OK and she's doing all right.
"I've seen bats fly out of guys' hands in(to) the stands and everyone's OK, but when one breaks like that, has jagged edges on it, anything can happen."
Alex Merlis, of Brookline, Massachusetts, said he was sitting in the row behind the woman when the broken bat flew into the stands just a few rows from the field.
"It was violent," he said of the impact to her forehead and top of her head. "She bled a lot. A lot. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that."
Merlis said the woman had been sitting with a small child and a man. After she was injured, the man was tending to her and other people were trying to console the distraught child, he said.
Concerned about a rash of flying broken bats and the danger they posed, Major League Baseball studied the issue in 2008 and implemented a series of changes to bat regulations for the following season.
Multi-piece bat failures are down about 50 percent since the beginning of the 2009 season, MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said.
Though dozens of fans at big league ballparks are struck by foul balls each season, there has been only one fatality, according to baseball researchers — a 14-year-old boy killed by a foul line drive off the bat of Manny Mota at Dodger Stadium in 1970.
The National Hockey League ordered safety netting installed at each end of NHL arenas after 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil was killed by a deflected puck at a Columbus Blue Jackets game in 2002. She died two days later, and her parents eventually settled with the team for $1.2 million, the league and the arena management.
"First and foremost, our thoughts and concern, and certainly our prayers, go out to the woman that was struck with the bat, her and her family," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A scary moment, certainly.
"All you can think about is a family, they come to a ballgame to hopefully get three hours of enjoyment, and unfortunately with how close our stands are to the field of action, an accident like this tonight is certainly disturbing."
AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in New York and Associated Press Writer Kristen De Groot in Philadelphia contributed to this report.