Saturday night’s doubleheader between the Rochester Red Wings and Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs was postponed in the bottom of the first inning of the first game due to a medical emergency.
Iron Pigs third baseman Daniel Brito apparently suffered some type of seizure and nearly fell to the grass before Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy – who was coaching in the third base box – caught him. Iron Pigs manager Gary Jones ran onto the field and they each were able to guide Brito to the ground.
Brito stayed on the ground for approximately 20 minutes and was administered oxygen by a paramedic before an ambulance arrived and Brito was transported to a local hospital. One source heard that the left side of Brito’s body was numb, though nothing conclusive about his condition was announced.
Once the ambulance drove off, LeCroy and Jones consulted with the umpiring crew, and then Red Wings general manager Dan Mason was brought in and he contacted Major League Baseball – which now operates the minor leagues – for a decision on whether to continue playing. After nearly an hour delay, the decision was made to postpone the game.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Lehigh Valley’s parent club, said Brito collapsed on the field and was undergoing surgery at a Rochester hospital in a team statement on Saturday evening.
The teams were playing a doubleheader because Thursday’s game had been rained out. Their series is scheduled to conclude Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. game, and it’s possible they would play a doubleheader to make up at least one of the Saturday postponements. That decision has not been made.
The Red Wings announced that fans in attendance can redeem their tickets for any game later this season.
Brito had singled in the top of the first inning and was on first base with two outs when Mickey Moniak singled. Brito was not running on contact as he should have been with two outs and only reached second base, and Jones was seen yelling to him that he had made a baserunning error.
Speculation of course, but it may have been that Brito was already beginning to suffer some type of symptom.
In the bottom of the first, Rochester’s Ali Castillo singled and went to third on a single by Jake Noll. The same Red Wings source said Castillo told him during the delay that Brito had shared with Castillo that he had a headache.
The Red Wings’ Brandon Snyder then cracked a three-run homer, and the next batter, Jakson Reetz, hit a ground ball foul down the third-base line. That’s when Brito began to wobble and LeCroy rushed to his side.
“I was having a conversation with a fan and looked up and saw Matt holding him and then saw the trainers come out so I went out to make sure everything was OK and see how we could help,” said Mason.
In his long career in baseball, Mason said he has never been a part of a game that was postponed due to an on-field medical emergency.
There was an obvious pall in the ballpark, and once Mason made the announcement that the game was called off, the fans applauded the decision, then began filing out. It was known that players on both sides were shaken by the event.
“I wasn’t in either clubhouse,” Mason said, “but I think not only the players but everybody that was here in the stands is keeping the young man in our thoughts and prayers.”
Brito, a native of Venezuela, was signed by the Phillies during the 2014-15 international signing period. The 23-year-old wound his way through the minor league system and had just reached Triple-A this season.
He has played in only eight games and was 8-for-28 (.276) with two homers and eight RBI. Brito has been a solid fielder in the infield, but what has held him back from advancing to the major leagues, according to various reports, was his bat.
In six minor league seasons covering 512 games, he has hit .259 with an on-base percentage of .325, 24 home runs and 176 RBI.
Sal Maiorana can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.
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