Fan OK after being struck by foul into net

Fan OK after being struck by foul into net

PITTSBURGH -- A fan injured on a foul ball into the protective net behind home plate during the second inning of Monday night's 5-2 Cubs win over the Pirates was alert and gave a "thumbs up" to nearby fans as she was taken for medical care.

Play was halted for about 20 minutes after Chicago's Starlin Castro fouled back a pitch from A.J. Burnett into the netting during the second inning while the fan was being escorted to her seat. The net flexed with the impact of the ball, which then struck the fan in the head area as she stood with her back to the field. She fell and immediately was tended to by ballpark and medical crews.

"I feel for the lady," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after the game. "Lot of concern there, and she wasn't getting moved any time soon, and for all the right reasons. Those things are out of your control."

The fan, who was placed on a stretcher and carefully carried up the stadium steps, received a chorus of encouraging applause from the crowd.

"During the top of the second inning a female fan was struck in the head with a foul ball," the Pirates said in a statement updating her condition. "After initial treatment by PNC Park and Pittsburgh EMS personnel, she was placed on a stretcher, moved to a nearby ambulance and brought to the hospital for further treatment. She was conscious and alert at the time of transport, graciously thanking her caregivers while giving a 'thumbs up' gesture to nearby fans.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her. We will share additional information as it becomes available."

Burnett saw it unfold and called over to first-base umpire Joe West, the chief of the umpiring crew working the game. They both signaled to plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, who signaled for stoppage of play.

"Something I had never been a part of," Burnett said. "When West came over, he made a great point: 'We care. We care about our fans as much as about anything else. So whatever I had to do [with the delay], I was willing to do."

While the fan, whose identity was not disclosed, received medical care, players from both teams waited patiently and hoped for the best. Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli walked to the screen and checked on the woman's condition, concern evident on his face.

"We're out there doing our thing, someone here watching the game, sad that happens," Burnett said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her, for sure. Crazy that it happens, but we're human beings, too -- we feel, we see. And that's very unfortunate."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.