Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. turned to prayer and his faith in God after he hit a foul ball that struck a child during Wednesday night's game against the Houston Astros.
It was the fourth inning when Amora’s foul ball hit the girl. When he realized what happened the athlete dropped to his knees and was inconsolable as his teammates tried to comfort him. The game continued and later he was seen crying on a security guard's shoulder after he asked for an update and was told she had been rushed to a nearby hospital.
“Right now, I’m just praying and I’m speechless,” Almora told reporters after the game. “I’m at a loss of words. Being a father, two boys … but God willing, I’ll be able to have a relationship with this little girl for the rest of my life. But just prayers right now, and that’s all I really can control.”
The Cub player said as soon as he hit the ball he sensed it was going to hit someone.
“As soon as I hit it, the first person I locked eyes on was her,” he said.
A fan in the audience described what it was like in the stands after the girl was struck. “All we heard was screaming.”
“He rips a line drive down the third-base line and it comes in and it looks like hits someone hard,” David LeVasseur told the Houston Chronicle. “It bounces, comes down and hits the guy to my left off ricochet and the next thing you know it’s at my feet. I pick it up and all we heard was screaming.”
“We just saw this dad pick up a child and run up the stairs. He took off running,” he recounted.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters that he consoled the outfielder and tried to assure him that he could not help the outcome of what happened.
“I just wanted him to understand, ‘This is not under your control. There’s nothing you could’ve done about that differently, so please don’t blame yourself,’ ” Maddon said. “Of course, it’s an awful moment, but it’s a game and this is out of your control and you just have to understand that part of it.”
The night of the incident the Houston Astros released a statement with an update on the girl’s condition.
“The young fan that was struck by a foul ball during tonight’s game was taken to the hospital. We are not able to disclose any further details at this time. The Astros send our thoughts and prayers to the entire family.”
Hours later, SportsTalk 790, a local sports-talk radio station in Houston, said the child is “expected to be OK.”
“According to our sources, the young child was awake, responsive and taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons. The child is expected to be OK. Thank goodness,” the radio station tweeted.
According to The Houston Chronicle, the baseball had “no traces of blood” on it and there was none near the seat.