Fan struck by flying bat of Cubs' Addison Russell, taken to hospital

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CHICAGO -- A fan that was hit by a flying bat at Wrigley Field was hospitalized Monday night after being wheeled from the stands on a stretcher and transported by ambulance during theCubs' 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

Chicago rookie Addison Russell, playing his first game at Wrigley, lost control of his bat on a swing as he led off the bottom of the seventh inning.

The fan was "conscious and communicating with staff while being transported from the stands," the Cubs said in a statement.

The injured fan was taken to the stadium's first-aid facility and then a nearby hospital.

"We will remain in communication with his family to keep updated on his progress," the team said.

The bat flew into the seats between the Cubs' dugout on the third-base side and the netting behind home plate, hitting the fan and drawing blood.

"It just slipped. I was aggressive that at-bat, I saw a fastball, wanted to hit it and the bat slipped, and then I saw it just connect with his face. I felt so bad." Russell said. "Words can't describe how bad I feel. I found the bat in my locker, so if you see that guy out there I'm willing to give him a bat and sign it and everything. I just feel terribly bad about that.

"Some of the things you just have to block out. Whenever the bat was in mid-flight, I was screaming 'Watch out! Watch out!' And then, I saw the dude's glasses fly and it just wasn't pretty. I feel really bad."

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was sitting about five rows below the fan and asked a team trainer in the dugout for ice and a towel. Ricketts went over to assist the fan while paramedics were called.

"It's awful. What I see is that I never want my kids sitting unprotected, even though it's a good seat," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "When I was playing at Quad Cities in 1976, a dad with his son was sitting right behind the screen to the left and I was sitting on the stoop. I was catching, it was hot and a foul ball back hit the little kid right in the face and that dented my mind.

"It's awful, but you come to a game -- please pay attention. It's a crazy game. Things fly in the stands. It's awful, but we all know that it can happen."

Russell was playing in his sixth major league game after being called up from the minors last week. But it was his first home game, with many friends and family in attendance for the debut.

Russell said he uses plenty of pine tar, but this wasn't the first time it's happened to him. Russell also lost control of his bat last week at Pittsburgh in his first major league game.

Information from The Associated Press and's Jesse Rogers was used in this report.

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