CHICAGO -- A young boy was struck in the face by a bat at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, but he returned after the freak accident to watch the Cubs rally to beat the Marlins.
With one out in the top of the sixth inning, Giancarlo Stanton was facing Jeff Samardzija when the slugger swung and missed, and his bat flew into the seats near the Cubs' dugout, about seven rows away from the field. Anyone watching could only cringe as the bat struck the boy.
The father grabbed the boy, believed to be 3 years old, and left the seating area, and his mother followed. Their identities were not revealed.
"That's a tough little kid right there," Samardzija said. "That didn't hit anything but that kid's jaw. It went right into his face. They got him out of there. It was tough to see. They brought the kid back and it looked like he was doing all right. He'll have a good story for the rest of his life -- he took a bat to his face and walked away from it. That was weird to see."
The family went to the first aid area at Wrigley, and they later returned for the rest of the game. The boy got to keep the bat.
"It's obviously something you never want to have happen, and it's not like I hit a ball out there, [so] I actually did something half-right," Stanton said. "Thank goodness he was all right, because the way his dad carried him off, it was like, the worst."
The father grabbed the boy and hustled him out of the seating area immediately.
"That was terrible," said Stanton, who watched the family leave before resuming play. "I don't have kids, but I have nieces and nephews, and I see a lot of the guys' kids around here all the time. It's never a good thing to see."
Stanton and Samardzija both were told later that the boy was OK.
"He has my bat and I'll give him a ring a little bit later, too," Stanton said.
The inning did not go well for Samardzija either. Stanton eventually singled, and the Marlins loaded the bases to set up Adeiny Hechavarria's grand slam. But the Cubs rallied for a 9-7 win.
Was Samardzija rattled by what happened to the boy?
"I thought we came back," Samardzija said. "Two singles, and I did what I wanted to do, and they found a hole. I didn't want to walk [Logan] Morrison there [before Hechavarria's at-bat].
"[The boy getting hit] didn't affect me," Samardzija said. "It's a freak thing and unfortunate to see."
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.