Braves' Salazar returns to camp

David Goldman/AP Photo
Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar, who was hit in the face by a line drive two weeks ago and had his left eye removed, finally made his return to camp Wednesday.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. --- Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar returned to camp Wednesday, two weeks after being struck in the face by a foul ball and losing his left eye.

 

"I'm very fortunate to be alive," Salazar said. "God gave me a second chance in this life, and I'm going to take advantage of it."

He hopes to join his Class A Lynchburg team in April near the start of the Carolina League season.

Salazar was standing on the top step of the dugout when he was struck by Brian McCann's line drive during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 9. He was knocked unconscious and airlifted to the hospital.

Doctors could not save Salazar's eye and it was removed on March 15. After a week in an Orlando hospital, he spent a week at his home in Boca Raton, Fla.

McCann visited Salazar several times after the injury.

"Brian McCann is a very sensitive kid and he was worried about my health," Salazar said. "We talked for about three hours. I told him what happened could happen to anybody. I told him move on and forget the incident."

Salazar, 54, said he's probably two to three weeks away from resuming his minor-league duties.

Salazar doesn't remember much of what happened. At first, it was feared he had stopped breathing.

"Nothing is wrong with my brain," Salazar said.

"That is the greatest news that I heard."

The Venezuela native said he appreciated the prayers and well wishes of everyone.

 

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