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Mets prospect Sean Ratliff to miss season after being struck in the eye by foul ball

Apr 20, 2011, 12:18 PM EDT

sean ratliff mets

Mets prospect Sean Ratliff broke six bones and suffered a partially detached retina when a foul ball struck him in the right eye while he stood in the on-deck circle during a game this spring and Adam Rubin of reports that the 2008 fourth-round pick will miss the entire season.

Ratliff has undergone two surgeries already and told Rubin that doctors “sounded pretty hopeful … that everything would be back to normal, or good-enough eyesight, to where I can hopefully keep playing.”

Braves minor-league manager Luis Salazar lost his left eye when he was struck by a foul ball just a few weeks earlier and Ratliff talked about how fortunate he feels to avoid the same fate:

I’m very blessed that it didn’t happen that way. That was the first thing that went through my mind. I wasn’t knocked out or anything. I was on the ground. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me, this is going to happen to me too?”

You don’t wish something like what happened to Luis Salazar happening to anybody. I was scared for a little while there that I wasn’t going to be able to see, or I wasn’t going to play again. I’m still not completely out of the woods yet with returning, or being able to play. But God has blessed me with hopefully a second chance here.

Ratliff struggled somewhat in his first two-and-a-half pro seasons after being picked out of Stanford, but the 24-year-old outfielder hit .317 with 16 homers and a .933 OPS in 73 games at Double-A following a midseason promotion last year.

  1. BC - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Jeez, this is a very disturbing trend. Hope the guy ends up being able to resume playing.

  2. cur68 - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Is it too soon to be making a case for hockey style helmets with a visor?

  3. thefalcon123 - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    It’s now been almost 4 years since Juan Encarnacion’s career ended after being hit in the eye with a foul ball while on the on deck circle. The doctor who did the surgery called it the worst eye injury he’d ever seen and to date, Juan can barely see out of that eye. Hope this kid is okay. And after this, Encarnacion, Salazar and Mike Coolbaugh, it would be nice for something to be done about this issue (note: I have zero ideas at all as to what could actually be done).

    • atlsp - Apr 20, 2011 at 4:40 PM

      Wasn’t Encarnacion actually on 3B (leading off just inside the foul line) when he got hit? I see that differently than the Salazar (on the dugout steps) and Coolbaugh (1B coaches box) situations. Although, like you, I don’t have many ideas of what to do about it. I’m afraid it might just be one of those “accepted risks” as part of playing the game.

      • thefalcon123 - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:58 PM

        Nope. He was on deck with Aaron Miles at the plate. the Cardinal stopped having batters stand in the circle for a year or two afterward.

  4. fatelvis77 - Apr 20, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    One idea. Eliminate the stupid on deck circle. It serves no function whatsoever.

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