Luis Salazar, a manager in the Atlanta Braves’ farm system, underwent surgery Wednesday night and is scheduled for more today after suffering multiple facial fractures when he was struck by a line drive in Wednesday’s game between the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.
“It may be another day or two before we have final clarification on everything they had to do,” Braves spokesman Brad Hainie said Thursday. A spokesman on Wednesday said that Salazar had no brain damage but suffered multiple facial fractures. He will have further tests to determine damage to his left eye.
“We feel very fortunate and blessed that Louie is alive and that he is responding and able to communicate with his family and talk,” Braves General Manager Frank Wren said. “We just pray for the best as he continues these tests and evaluations and whatever else is ahead of him. “
Salazar, 54, was airlifted from the Kissimmee, Fla., stadium to an Orlando hospital after the first-inning accident. He was standing on the top step of the dugout when a ball hit by Braves catcher Brian McCann struck him.
“He was out when it hit him,” said Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, who was on first base when Salazar got hit. “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.”
McCann left the game after the incident and later visited Salazar’s family at the Orlando hospital. “You just think the worst could have happened, and it didn’t,” McCann told USA Today. “The way the ball hit him and the way he hit the ground. There’s nothing you can do. It’s just a helpless, sick feeling.”
Salazar’s son, Carlos, was at the game. “I told them I’m so sorry this happened,” McCann said. “I let them know I’m here, I’m praying. Yesterday was a tragic day.”
Salazar was to manage the Braves’ Lynchburg, Va., affiliate this season.