3/17 Get well, Luis Salazar
Blake DeWitt was watching the Braves’ Spring Training game on TV Wednesday, hoping for news about his former Minor League manager and hitting coach Luis Salazar. Salazar, who played for the Cubs from 1989-92, lost his left eye in a freak accident when he was hit in the face by a foul ball during a Grapefruit League game.
“He was a very good friend,” DeWitt said Thursday. “He was a great guy, fun to be around, loved the game. He was a joy to be around every day. It’s an unfortunate deal. I saw that he lost his eye. You’re also thankful he’s still alive. He’s definitely in my thoughts and my prayers are with him and his family.”
Are there things Salazar taught DeWitt that he still uses?
“He just loved the game,” DeWitt said. “He was full of energy, fun to be around, knowledgeable, willing to help anybody. It was a freak accident.”
Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams said he began this spring standing on the top step to watch the games. After the Salazar incident, Williams said he moved back behind the screens.
“You can’t guard against everything,” Williams said.
There aren’t many options to protect players and coaches in the dugouts unless they put screens over the entire thing.
“It’s just one of those things — you’re so close,” DeWitt said. “Sometimes you don’t have a chance. Every once in a while, it happens [that someone is hit] and it’s surprising it doesn’t happen more.”
— Carrie Muskat