LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar has lost an eye after he was struck in the face by a line drive while watching a spring training game.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday that doctors were unable to save Salazar’s left eye after the accident March 9. The former major league player is otherwise recovering from his injuries and expects to manage Lynchburg of the Class A Carolina League this season.
The 54-year-old Salazar was standing against the railing on the top step of the dugout during a game between the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals when Brian McCann fouled a ball in his direction. Salazar was unable to get out of the way and fell head-first back into the dugout.
The game was stopped for almost 20 minutes so Salazar could be airlifted to an Orlando hospital. He regained consciousness on the way and was treated for multiple facial fractures, but doctors were unable to save his left eye.
“In the big picture, and that’s what we have to keep in mind, this is a good outcome,” Wren said. “He’s alive.”
McCann was badly shaken and didn’t return when the game resumed.
He visited Salazar in the hospital and has stayed in touch.
“It’s a crazy, crazy thing that happened,” McCann said the day after Salazar was struck. “So unfortunate. You feel hopeless.”
Wren said that Salazar would spend about a week at home in Boca Raton, Fla., and then return to Braves camp at some point this spring. The minor-league season begins April 7 and Salazar had been serving as an extra major league coach when struck.
“Doctors have told us and him that there is no reason why, in about four or six weeks, he can’t manage his team as he anticipated,” Wren said.
Salazar is in his first year with the Braves organization.