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Fan who hit Red Sox player with ball gets lifetime ban from all parks

MLB’s decision comes a day after Boston leftfielder Alex Verdugo is hit by a baseball thrown from the stands at Yankee Stadium.
Red Sox first-base coach Tom Goodwin, second from left, tries to calm leftfielder Alex Verdugo after he was hit in the back by a ball thrown by a fan during the sixth inning Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.
Red Sox first-base coach Tom Goodwin, second from left, tries to calm leftfielder Alex Verdugo after he was hit in the back by a ball thrown by a fan during the sixth inning Saturday night at Yankee Stadium. [ MARY ALTAFFER | AP ]
Published Jul. 18
Updated Jul. 19

NEW YORK — The fan who hit Red Sox leftfielder Alex Verdugo with a baseball thrown from the Yankee Stadium stands has been banned for life from attending big-league games.

The decision was confirmed Sunday by the Yankees and Major League Baseball.

Boston manager Alex Cora briefly pulled his team off the field in the sixth inning Saturday night after Verdugo was hit in the back by a ball thrown from the leftfield seats.

An angry Verdugo shouted at fans and was restrained by first-base coach Tom Goodwin as the game was held up in a driving rain.

“While the Yankees appreciate the spirit and passion of our fans in our various rivalries — especially with the Red Sox — reckless, disorderly and dangerous behavior that puts the safety of players, field staff or fellow fans in jeopardy will not be tolerated,” the Yankees said in a statement Sunday.

“There is absolutely no place for it at Yankee Stadium.”

NJ.com reported Sunday that the fan was not arrested.

“As fans, ya’ll got to be better,” Verdugo said after the game. “You don’t throw s- t at people. You wouldn’t do that to somebody in the street. … It don’t sit well with me.”

“This is just a game,” Cora said. “It’s a game. It’s not life and death, and it’s not this drama, and the fact that people come to the ballpark and they decided to throw a baseball (at) one of the players, I was in shock that that happened.”

Verdugo said he threw the ball into the stands to a young Red Sox fan, but a Yankees fan intercepted it and threw it back, hitting Verdugo.

“It’s awful, embarrassing, unacceptable. … Hopefully he’s in jail right now,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the fan.

Cora said he removed his players to calm Verdugo and try to make sure nothing worse happened.

“I know my leftfielder. I know Alex,” Cora said. “He needed time to breathe and to get his thoughts. It seemed like nobody was listening to me. You never know. What if he jumps the fence? What if he goes up there?”

Fans in the leftfield stands told the New York Post that the ball was tossed into the stands after warmups, between the top and bottom of the sixth inning. Chants began for the fan who caught the ball to throw the ball back, which he did, and it hit Verdugo.

The fan was ejected.

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