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Fan struck by foul ball evaluated at hospital

Woman never lost consciousness, was taken to DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital

DETROIT -- A fan at Comerica Park was carried out on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital after being struck in the head by a foul ball in the eighth inning of Friday's Tigers-Rangers game.

The unidentified woman was sitting just behind the Tigers' dugout when an Anthony Gose foul ball came in on a line and struck her on the right side of her head. Nearby fans and stadium security immediately called for EMS personnel as security asked for extra towels from clubhouse assistants in the Tigers dugout.

Play stopped for about seven minutes as players and coaches watched paramedics attend to the woman, who remained down for several minutes but reportedly never lost consciousness.

"The ballgame got put into perspective for us," Rangers manager Jeff Bannister said. "I really hope that the lady that got struck is all right. We'll pray for her."

The woman was applauded by nearby fans as she sat up and was seated upright on the stretcher, her neck in a brace, as personnel carried her up the steps and out of the park. She was transported to DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, where she was being evaluated as of late Friday night. A Tigers official said the team will follow up with the family Saturday morning to check in and get an update.

An inning later, Adrian Beltre's bat shattered on a Neftali Feliz pitch, sending half the bat flying into the seats not far from where the foul ball landed. In this case, everybody appeared to be OK.

For many players and coaches, the ball brought back memories of an incident earlier this season at Fenway Park, where Tonya Carpenter was struck by a broken bat along the third-base side and was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

"I do think that fan safety is a growing concern," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after the game. "It's not really my call, but I do think it's something that should be looked at."

Catcher Alex Avila, who has served as the Tigers' representative with the MLB Players Association, said the topic has been brought up, with the possibility of extending netting from behind home plate at Major League parks.

"It's been a big topic over the last year or so," Avila said. "I don't see why it would hurt. I'm not really sure how it would affect the view for the fans. But it's definitely been talked about."

Said Justin Verlander: "I wasn't out there, obviously, didn't see [the foul ball] on replay. I don't think they wanted to show it. But it's something that needs to be addressed. Immediately. ...

"We have enough stats in this game, I think you can break down numbers and say 'OK, this is where you're really in danger of the hard-hit line drive, the low line drive that just misses the dugout.' I think much higher than that it's usually popped up or you're not really in danger. But those low liners, they catch us off guard in the dugout and we're Major League Baseball players. We still get hit."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
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