CLEVELAND — Will Brennan only tried to hit the ball. What happened after that wasn’t by design.
Cleveland’s rookie outfielder hit a hard grounder that accidentally killed a bird wandering on the infield grass during the second inning of the Guardians’ 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
With none out and a runner at first base, Brennan, a left-handed hitter, went the other way with a 92.6 mph fastball from Chicago’s Jesse Scholtens. The liner connected with a small bird who had wandered into a dangerous place.
The ball, clocked at 100.1 mph, sent the bird flying, and when Brennan got to first he reacted by putting his hands on his helmet and grimacing. Umpires called time, allowing a member of the groundcrew could remove the dead bird with a shovel.
Following the game, Brennan posted an apology on Twitter to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
“I truly am sorry @peta and bird enthusiasts,” Brennan wrote. “An unfortunate sacrifice.”
It’s the second time in a week that a major league player has unintentionally killed a bird.
Last week, Arizona pitcher Zac Gallen unintentionally struck and killed a bird while warming up in the outfield before the Diamondbacks played the Oakland Athletics. Gallen threw a curveball that hit the bird in midflight and killed it.
Gallen’s shot brought to mind Arizona Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson, who famously obliterated a bird that flew in front of the plate and of the left-hander’s fastballs during a spring training game in 2001.