Yost favors additional netting to protect fans

July 15th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have indicated they plan to extend the protective netting down the foul lines at Kauffman Stadium, perhaps near the end of the current season.

There has been a growing amount of incidents involving fan injuries from line drives into the stands. On Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, a little girl was injured after she was hit by a line drive.

The Royals have been in touch with her family, and she is recovering. She was transported to a local hospital and kept overnight for observation. The Royals said it is their understanding she will be released sometime Monday night. Several Royals players signed the baseball after the game, which she now has. The Tigers player who hit the ball, Christin Stewart, also signed it.

The Royals said the idea of extending the netting was in the works before Sunday’s incident, according to Royals senior vice president of business operations Kevin Uhlich.

Major League Baseball has mandated protective netting be extended toward the end of all stadium dugouts.

The Royals will be joining a list of teams proposing to extend their netting near each foul pole. The Nationals, Pirates and Orioles also have made commitments, and the White Sox already have begun installing netting toward the foul poles.

Royals manager Ned Yost is a big proponent of the decision.

“Extending the netting will help a lot,” Yost said. “But this has been going on for years and years and years. Seriously, and you hate to say it, with the popularity of cell phones, more people have gotten hit. They’re just not paying attention to every pitch like they did before. And it’s not everybody. Sometimes you just can’t move.

“[Sunday], I didn’t get a good look at it, but I think it was a mom with her little girl, and what do you do when a ball is coming in like that? It’s just hard to protect yourself.

“The best thing Major League Baseball can do and that we can do is extend the netting and reduce the velocity on some of those balls going into the stands. The higher (the line drive is) the more time you have to react and move. So I think it’s a good thing. I think MLB and all throughout the sport is moving in that direction. We don’t want any of our fans coming out here and getting hurt. We want them to come out and enjoy the game, enjoy the weather, enjoy this beautiful stadium without fear of getting hurt.”

Barlow recalled

To fill the 25-man roster spot left open by the Homer Bailey trade on Sunday, the Royals recalled right-handed reliever . Barlow had been optioned to Triple-A Omaha on July 1. In three outings there, he threw six scoreless innings.

Barlow pitched to three batters Monday night in the eighth inning of the Royals' 5-2 victory over the White Sox. He issued a leadoff walk to Yoan Moncada and allowed a line single to left by Jose Abreu before he struck out James McCann. Barlow was charged with a run allowed when Moncada scored with Jake Diekman pitching.