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Butler Hit in Head By Pregame Fly Ball

September 06, 1997|JASON REID

No one need tell Brett Butler that anything can happen to anyone at any time.

On Friday, Butler learned it again.

Butler was hit in the head by a fly ball during batting practice, opening a cut over his left eyebrow that required three stitches to close. The mishap also prompted Manager Bill Russell to scratch Butler from the starting lineup for precautionary reasons.

This obviously wasn't as tough as coping with cancer, but it was another bump in the road for Butler. By now, Butler is used to the unexpected.

"At this point, it's kind of like, what else can happen?" said Butler, who fought back from throat cancer surgery last season. "All I could think of [when it happened] was, 'Are you kidding me?' "

The accident occurred while Butler was standing in left field and fielding balls hit by coach Manny Mota. While bending over to pick up a ball, Butler momentarily looked away and was struck by a ball hit by backup catcher Tom Prince, who was taking batting practice at home plate.

Butler crumpled to the ground and was immediately surrounded by teammates and trainer Charlie Strasser. He was bleeding heavily from the cut and his eye was swollen.

"Tommy came over to say it was [him], but it's just one of those freak things," said Butler, who was also hit earlier this while running the bases before a game.

"When something like this happens, you can either quit or persevere and go on. I chose to go on. Thank God it just didn't hit me in the orbit [bone] or someplace else."

Butler was looking forward to being back in the lineup after not playing during a two-game trip to Texas. He has lost his leadoff role to Eric Young and has played less in the outfield since the arrival of Darren Lewis, whom Russell inserted into the lineup after Butler was hit.

This was not the way Butler envisioned ending his 16-year career. Butler said he is determined to make an impact during the season's final days.

"My whole body is full of pain, but I'm more driven and I'm more determined than ever," Butler said. "You're going to have to drag me off the field during the last [21] games. I'm going to go out the same way I came in--kicking and screaming."


Outfielder Todd Hollandsworth, on the disabled list because of a severe bruise of the joint in his right elbow, has started swinging lightly again.

Hollandsworth said he hopes to return this season, although he and the Dodgers aren't sure that will happen.

"I think I'm in a good place right now," Hollandsworth said. "I'm just going to start off slow and take a while to build up.

"I can't say I'm absolutely going to be back this season, but I want to try to. We'll see."

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