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Scary Incident Delays Pirates’ Spring Training Workout



BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pittsburgh Pirates halted their spring training workout Tuesday for approximately a half hour after a guest collapsed on the field at Pirate City while shagging fly balls.

The unidentified man was administered CPR, removed from the field on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to a local hospital. A Pirates spokesman said the man was alert and responsive.

The man collapsed in center field near the warning track. Team doctors, led by Pirates medical director Patrick DeMeo, and athletic trainers quickly rushed to his aid.

Jacki Dezelski, president and CEO of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce in Bradenton, confirmed to The Associated Press that the man is a member of her group, which sometimes is invited to attend practices and retrieve balls near the fence during batting practice.

Dezelski said the man suffered cardiac arrest and was alert and talking later Tuesday following a procedure. She declined to identify the man until receiving permission from family members.

Players were working out on all four fields and the bullpens at Pirate City at the time. Manager Derek Shelton and general manager Ben Cherington stopped the workout and gathered the team together until they were assured the fallen man was out of danger.

“On behalf of the Pirates medical staff related to this afternoon’s cardiac event, the overall emphasis of preparedness was key,” the Pirates said in a statement. “The collective, quick response by the medical team, led by Dr. Patrick DeMeo amongst other team MDs, certified athletic trainers, coaches, the Bradenton operations staff, clubhouse staff, Bradenton FD, Manatee County EMS was critical to ensure the individual received appropriate care and transfer to the hospital.”


John Perrotto is a columnist for Pittsburgh Baseball Now and has covered the Pittsburgh Pirates and MLB since 1988.

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