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COACHES KEEP WATCHFUL EYE OUT FOR BATTED BALLS

As much as Devil Rays base coaches Tom Foley and George Hendrick acknowledge the risk of being struck by a batted ball, they said there really isn't anything that can be done about what is essentially an occupational hazard.

"I'll just do the same thing I've been doing and hope I stay lucky," said Foley, who coaches third.

The Sunday death of Mike Coolbaugh, who was coaching first for Colorado's Double-A team, has renewed discussion about the vulnerability of standing less than 90 feet from the hitters.

"It does cross your mind," said Hendrick, the first-base coach. "I'm always aware of the baseball."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he was struck in the forehead once while throwing batting practice. Hendrick has been hit twice in the leg and Foley was hit on the foot last spring and sustained a broken toe.

"You don't think about it when you're out there, you just react," Foley said. "It's tough when you have guys in scoring position and you have to go down the line a little bit. You know the guys that are pull hitters. You back up a little bit and give yourself some room."

Rays infielder Greg Norton has been on the other side in 2001 with Colorado, ripping a line drive that - if not for evasive action -would have struck third-base coach Rich Donnelly in the head. "It's a scary thing," said Norton, who plans to make a donation to a fund for Coolbaugh's family.

Several Rays knew Coolbaugh from the minors, and Foley said the Rays were close to signing him at one point.

Pitching coach Jim Hickey had him for a few seasons in the Houston organization. "I was nauseated when I heard about it," Hickey said.

Neither Foley nor Hendrick expect coaches to start wearing protective gear or helmets. "I don't think anything will change," Foley said. "It was a freak thing."

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