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Gun accident: Red Sox prospect Bryce Brentz shoots self in leg

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Bryce Brentz should choose his weapons more carefully. Bats only, perhaps

Bryce Brentz cost himself an invitation to major league spring training with the Boston Red Sox, for now, after he accidentally shot himself in the leg cleaning his handgun. An outfield prospect who recently turned 24 years old, Brentz had gotten the attention of manager John Farrell, who says Brentz is a candidate to get called up from Triple-A this season. Shooting yourself has a way of clouding those possibilities. Red Sox camp opens officially tomorrow, but Brentz will start with the minor leaguers once he's healthy.

Brentz was light on details in a conference call to the media Saturday morning, but Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said Brentz was lucky — relatively speaking — that he wasn't injured worse. Alex Speier of WEEI, who broke the story, has the quotes:

“He had an accident. He was at home cleaning a gun and accidentally went off. He was injured in the process. Fortunately for him it’s something he’s going to recover from and be fine and won’t affect his baseball career. He wasn’t 100 percent physically able, or wouldn’t be at the beginning of camp. We ended up not bringing him to big league camp because he wouldn’t be able to participate 100 percent.

“He was cleaning a gun and it accidentally went off. The bullet went into his leg and out the other side. I guess you could say he got lucky relative to what happened. I think he understands he got lucky and it’s a serious thing and he has to be careful. He’s here in Fort Myers and he’s recovering and it’s not going to get in the way of his future, but he won’t be in big league camp.”

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There's really no good way to spin this for Brentz. If the story we have been told is the entire truth, he was being careless with a loaded firearm. Incredibly dangerous. If there's more to it, and he was goofing off or somehow inebriated, well, it's just that much worse. Regardless, this is one of those things where the wise old man would say "there's no such thing as an accident." Guns don't usually trigger spontaneously.

It was a handgun Brentz was trying to clean, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Lauber added that Cherington said the Red Sox don't have a policy against players legally owning hand guns, though such a policy might be tough to enforce if it did exist. Second Amendment and so on.

Hopefully the incident scared Brentz into remembering the first rule of gun cleaning: Make sure the weapon isn't loaded first. That also might be the second and third rules of gun cleaning.

Here's some baseball background on the young man via SoxProspects.com, so you have an idea what the Red Sox might be missing.

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All right, go ahead and have your gun conversation in the comments. I'll see you guys later.

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