Indians: 3-year-old hit by Francisco Lindor line drive escaped serious injury

Netting that protects fans with infield seats in Cleveland does not expand beyond the dugouts. (Getty)
Netting that protects fans with infield seats in Cleveland does not expand beyond the dugouts. (Getty)

A line drive off the bat of Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor Sunday traveled into the stands and hit a 3-year-old boy, who was taken to a Cleveland hospital.

The Indians announced on Tuesday that the boy, identified as Henry, was released from the hospital later that evening and is doing well.

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“The Indians organization and Francisco Lindor are very thankful Henry is doing well,” the team announced.

Lindor calls for extended netting

The incident fueled the growing call for the expansion of protective netting at MLB parks in light of a number of incidents of foul balls hitting fans.

Lindor himself echoed that call after the game.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was headed to somebody,” Lindor said, via Cleveland.com. “I hit it hard. I got over on the ball. It stinks. I encourage every MLB team to put the nets all the way down.”

Why wouldn’t teams extend netting?

Lindor addressed the argument made against extending the netting beyond the ends of the dugouts, where it stops at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Some argue that extending netting to the foul poles would hinder the fan experience that sees players signing autographs by the stands before games and toss balls into the stands during gameplay.

Lindor believes that safety should be the priority.

“I know it’s all about the fans’ experience to interact with the players,” Lindor said. “I completely get that. You want to have that interaction with the players, getting autographs and stuff. But at the end of the day, we want to make sure everybody comes out of the game healthy. We’ve got to do something about it.”

MLB mandates that ballparks have netting that extends to the dugouts. Any netting beyond that is up to individual teams and ballparks, a point that commissioner Rob Manfred reiterated recently in light of the calls for expanded netting.

White Sox extended netting, Indians waiting

The Chicago White Sox extended the netting at Guaranteed Rate Field to the foul poles on Monday, becoming the first MLB team to do so.

The Washington Nationals also extended netting at Nationals Park this week.

The Indians said in May after an incident at Houston’s Minute Maid Park that saw a young girl reportedly suffer a skull fracture after being hit with a foul ball that they won’t consider extending the nets until after the season.

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