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Fan who hit Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo banned for life from Yankee Stadium

Boston Red Sox first base coach Tom Goodwin,

Boston Red Sox first base coach Tom Goodwin, second from left, calms leftfielder Alex Verdugo (99) after he was hit in the back by an object thrown by a fan during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Saturday, July 17, 2021. Credit: AP/Mary Altaffer

Aaron Boone didn’t equivocate late Saturday. "Hopefully he’s in jail right now," Boone said.

The "he" the Yankees’ manager spoke of after his team’s rain-shortened 3-1 victory over the Red Sox was a fan in the leftfield seats who, in the sixth inning, pegged Boston leftfielder Alex Verdugo in the back with a baseball.

"Awful, embarrassing, unacceptable," Boone said of the incident.

The fan, though ejected from Yankee Stadium and immediately arrested, thus far has not spent any time in jail. He was, however, banned for life from Yankee Stadium. MLB followed suit, banning him from the remaining 29 parks.

"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. The safety of everyone at Yankee Stadium, including guests in the stands and players on the field, will always be the top priority for the Yankees organization every time we open our doors."

Though the fan was promptly thrown out, in the moment, that wasn’t enough for Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who pulled his team from the field.

Boone said he texted Cora.

"Just a bad situation, and if I was Alex Cora, I would have done the same thing as far as going out and getting his guys off the field," Boone said. "There’s zero place for that in this great game and in this great rivalry. Players should never feel like they have to worry about anything like that. I already reached out to Alex Cora, just apologizing to Alex Verdugo. That’s just a terrible, bad, sad situation. Sorry about that."

Gerrit Cole, who struck out 11 in six innings in which he allowed one run, five hits and two walks to improve to 10-4 with a 2.63 ERA, described the entire situation as "not good."

"Unfortunately, it’s not the first time I’ve heard about players getting hit with objects here," Cole said. "I’m assuming he’s OK. I hope he’s OK. That’s pretty terrible. Hope it doesn’t happen again. There’s no place for that kind of stuff and glad Alex pulled them off the field and made a statement by doing that. That was the right move."

After getting hit, Verdugo began yelling toward the area of the stands he felt the ball came from and eventually had to be restrained by his coaches, teammates and umpires.

"I don’t care how much [expletive] you want to talk," Verdugo told Boston reporters, according to Masslive.com. "I don’t care about the rivalry or anything like that. At the end of the day, this is a game. We still want to keep our players healthy, keep our players safe.

"There’s just no reason to be throwing stuff back onto the field ever. There really isn’t. Yeah, I lost my cool there for a second. I was pretty [upset]. Having some time to think about it now and calm down and relax, it is what it is. I’m just happy nothing came from it."

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