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Dodgers to extend safety netting to protect fans - report

A young woman receives treatment after being hit by a foul ball off the bat of Cody Bellinger at Dodger Stadium on June 23 (AFP Photo/Harry How)

Los Angeles (AFP) - The Los Angeles Dodgers plan to extend the netting at Dodger Stadium to protect fans from foul balls after another spectator was struck over the weekend, the Orange County Register reported Monday.

Dodgers team president and chief executive Stan Kasten told the newspaper the team had been "looking at options" for extending the netting since last year, when it was extended to the far ends of both dugouts as directed by Major League Baseball.

"Surely we will be expanding netting. I don’t know yet the final configuration," Kasten said. "Obviously, there are some different choices to be made and different products, which each come with their own set of challenges."

Kasten said it was "likely" the netting would be increased before the end of this season, but not certain.

The Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals said last week that they will extend the netting down the foul lines to the foul poles, becoming the first clubs to announce such plans.

The issue of protective netting, and whether Major League Baseball should require clubs to extend it to the foul poles, has been in the spotlight again this season after a four-year-old fan struck by a foul ball in Houston was hospitalized in May.

On Sunday, a foul ball off the bat of Cody Bellinger hit a young woman sitting slightly past the protective netting at Dodger Stadium.

She received an ice pack for her forehead and was taken to hospital for precautionary tests.

Bellinger, who went over to check on the fan before she departed, said he thought extending the netting "would be a smart decision" although some have argued it could interfere with spectator enjoyment of the game.

Bellinger noted that spectators in seats near the field "don't have much reaction time.

"I saw the ball hit her in the face," he said. "That was tough."

Last season, a 79-year-old woman died after being hit in the head by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium.

Linda Goldbloom was struck on August 25 and died four days later, with the Los Angeles County coroner listing her causes of death as acute intracranial hemorrhage and blunt force trauma.