Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger voiced support for extending netting in Major League Baseball stadiums after accidentally hitting a fan with a foul ball Sunday in Los Angeles. File Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo
June 24 (UPI) -- A young woman was taken to the hospital after being struck by a foul ball off the bat of Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger at Dodger Stadium.
The incident occurred in the first inning of the Dodgers' 6-3 win against the Colorado Rockies Sunday in Los Angeles. The woman was seated four rows up from the field down the first base line, just beyond the protective netting, when Bellinger smacked a foul ball into her section of seats. The baseball hit her in the head.
Stadium staff and medical personnel tended to her. She held an ice pack on her forehead before being taken to the hospital for precautionary testing. She was alert and able to answer questions after being struck, authorities said.
The incident comes a month after a 4-year-old girl was struck by a foul ball during a Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros game at Minute Maid Park in Houston. A woman died last August after being hit in the head by another foul ball at Dodger Stadium.
"It was the first time that I saw [myself] hit a fan [with a foul ball]," Bellinger told reporters. "I saw it hit her face. That was tough. Doc [Dodgers manager Dave Roberts] came over and we had a talk and tried to regroup. I'm sure it was tough for everyone."
Bellinger also said he assumed it would be a "smart decision" to extend the netting at Major League Baseball stadiums.
Roberts also said "talks need to intensify" when it comes to expanded netting at MLB ballparks.
"I don't see anything wrong with that idea," Roberts said.
MLB franchises extended protective netting to the far ends of their dugouts and beyond at the start of last season, following fan injuries in 2017. Several clubs have recently announced they are extending their current netting to the foul poles at their stadiums.
A 14-year-old boy also died at Dodger Stadium in 1970 after being hit by a ball.
"The events at last night's game were extremely upsetting. We send our best wishes to the child and family involved," MLB said in a statement following the Cubs and Astros foul ball incident. "Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years."
"With last night's event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue."
In 2018, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that he would allow each MLB franchise to "get to the right place on their own without the necessity of creating a rule that could be troublesome depending on how ballparks were designed."
Manfred said MLB franchises are constantly evaluating the coverage and design of their ballpark netting.