CLEVELAND — Will Brennan only tried to hit the ball. What happened after that wasn’t by design.
The rookie Cleveland Guardians outfielder hit a hard grounder that accidentally killed a bird wandering on the infield grass during the second inning of Monday night’s 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
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 that had wandered into a dangerous place.
The ball, clocked at 100.1 mph, sent the bird flying, and when Brennan got to first, he put his hands on his helmet and grimaced. Umpires called time, allowing a member of the grounds crew to remove the dead bird with a shovel.
Following the game, Brennan posted an apology on Twitter.
“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 Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen unintentionally struck and killed a bird while warming up in the outfield before a game against the Oakland Athletics. Gallen threw a curveball that hit the bird in midflight.
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 during one of the left-hander’s fastballs in a 2001 spring training game.