NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A fan at Yankee Stadium showed off quite an arm Sunday — at the expense of All-Star outfielder Brett Gardner.
The Yankees left fielder was hit in the back of the head but not hurt when a fan threw back a ball that Toronto slugger Jose Bautista had launched for a home run.
Gardner immediately flinched after he was struck in the fourth inning, but stayed in the game without a problem.
“I just wore it. Didn’t even turn around,” he said. “It wasn’t like it was coming from the second row. It was a long ways away.”
The Yankees lost 2-0 to the Blue Jays, thanks to long home runs from Bautista and Toronto’s Josh Donaldson.
Following the defeat, Gardner said he had a little bump on his crown.
“I’ve got a hard head, so it’s all good,” he joked. “It’s over with. Glad I didn’t get hurt.”
Fans all across the majors often throw back home runs hit into the stands by opponents. Those tosses rarely come close to hitting players on the field.
“Hit him right in the head, and that’s kind of disappointing. I know it’s kind of tradition to throw it back, but at least aim away from the players if you’re going to do it, please,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
“It’s been going on for years. I don’t know if I’ve seen anyone hit before. It’s dangerous when fans throw objects on the field because players really aren’t looking for that. I don’t know if that’s ever going to change, I’d just ask our fans to be careful.”
The funniest line came from Mark Teixeira, who ran into traffic while lunging into the stands on an unsuccessful attempt to catch a foul pop in the ninth.
“Tell the fans, you know, you can insult but you cannot assault,” he said, cracking up a pack of reporters. “We know you’re upset, we lost three in a row, we’re sorry, but just keep it to insults, not assaults.”
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