Salazar struck in face by foul ball

Lynchburg skipper hospitalized with facial fractures

Former Major Leaguer Luis Salazar came to the Braves system as a manager in November.

By Staff | March 9, 2011 7:08 PM ET

Luis Salazar, who was named the Lynchburg Hillcats' manager in November 2010, reportedly suffered facial fractures and was hospitalized after a dramatic accident at the ballpark on Wednesday afternoon.

The 54-year-old skipper, who's new to the Braves system, was hit in the face by a foul ball during a Spring Training game between the Braves and the Cardinals at Champion Stadium in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Salazar was standing along the rail of the Braves dugout when a foul line drive off the bat of Brian McCann struck him during the first inning. He dropped to the dugout floor and was tended to by a medic before being transported via ambulance away from the field to an area where he could be reached with a helicopter.

"He was out when it hit him," Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones told "I didn't see him hit the ground. But it was awful. ... A ball hit that hard at that short of a distance could certainly kill somebody. I'm so glad to hear he's conscious and breathing on his own."

Early Wednesday evening, a Braves spokesperson said Salazar didn't suffer any brain damage.

"We feel very fortunate and blessed that Louie is alive and that he is responding and able to communicate with his family and talk," Wren said. "We just pray for the best as he continues these tests and evaluations and whatever else is ahead of him."

Although McCann and other players were reportedly visibly shaken, the game continued after a 14-minute delay.

Salazar played pieces of 13 seasons in the Major Leagues, and he managed from 1996-97 in the Midwest League and from 2002-05 in the Gulf Coast League. Before being named skipper of the Class A Advanced Braves affiliate, he served as a Minor League hitting coach in the Dodgers system.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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