Luis Salazar's eye removed in surgery
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar has lost an eye after he was struck in the face by a line drive while watching a spring training game.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday that doctors were unable to save Salazar's left eye after the accident, which happened March 9. The former major league player is otherwise recovering from his injuries and expects to manage Lynchburg of the Class A Carolina League this season.
In the big picture, and that's what we have to keep in mind, this is a good outcome. He's alive.” -- Braves GM Frank Wren
Braves players have been kept informed of Salazar's condition, Wren said.
"Luis is progressing well. Right now he's focused on getting back to work," Wren said.
The 54-year-old Salazar was standing against the railing on the top step of the dugout during a game between the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals when Brian McCann fouled a ball in his direction. Salazar was unable to get out of the way and fell headfirst back into the dugout.
The game was stopped for almost 20 minutes so Salazar could be airlifted to an Orlando hospital. He regained consciousness on the way and was treated for multiple facial fractures, but doctors were unable to save his left eye.
"In the big picture, and that's what we have to keep in mind, this is a good outcome," Wren said. "He's alive."
McCann was badly shaken and didn't return when the game resumed. He visited Salazar in the hospital and has stayed in touch.
"It's a crazy, crazy thing that happened," McCann said the day after Salazar was struck. "So unfortunate. You feel hopeless."
Wren said Salazar would spend about a week at home in Boca Raton, Fla., then return to Braves camp at some point this spring. The minor league season begins April 7, and Salazar had been serving as an extra major league coach at the time of the incident.
"Doctors have told us and him that there is no reason why in about four or six weeks, he can't manage his team as he anticipated," Wren said.
Salazar is in his first year with the Braves' organization. He was the Double-A hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers the past three seasons.
Salazar played in the major leagues from 1980 to 1992 for the San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox. He mostly played third base, was a career .261 hitter with 94 home runs and played in the 1984 World Series for the Padres.
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and The Associated Press was used in this report.