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Michael Taylor cuts pinkie throwing away gum

David Brown
Big League Stew

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No matter what happens for the rest of his career in Major League Baseball, this might be how Michael Taylor of the Oakland Athletics is remembered.

Taylor already has missed a week of A's camp because he cut the pinkie finger on his right hand in two spots trying to throw away a wad of gum. One of the gashes has healed, the other has not, Taylor told reporter Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday:

He’s 6-foot-5, and his hand hit the light on the ceiling of the dugout as he made the toss. So he’s missed a week, he told me, and he cannot play until the cut has totally closed, which it has not.

That's definitely going to make the Bizarre Injury Hall of Fame, once ground is broken. And before anyone belittles Taylor's intelligence too much: He went to Stanford. OK, so there's a difference between book smart and dugout smart. Always know where your light fixtures are in the dugout, tunnel and clubhouse! And please, deposit your used gum in the nearest trash bin.

There is a semi-sad part of this story, though. Taylor, at one point, was going to be somebody in the majors.

He was the N0. 29 rated prospect by Baseball America in 2010, shortly after he was traded away by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Roy Halladay megadeal. Taylor (and Shane Peterson) are all the A's have left from the Matt Holliday trade.

Now that he's 27 years old, Taylor's career certainly is at a crossroads, as Slusser writes. It's actually been there since 2011. He wasn't going to make the team out of spring training. The A's are deep in the outfield (and even at first base, which Taylor also is trying to learn). And they never have seemed all that eager to give him an extended look. He's got 56 career plate appearances in the bigs.

His minor league numbers are good: .294/. 377/ .469 with 79 homers and 92 stolen bases in 2,772 plate appearances, but the returns seem to be diminishing. And he's got Triple-A down, having gotten about 1,600 plate appearances there. He seems like the kind of player who would benefit from an expansion draft, like one of the guys the Rockies or Marlins or D-backs would have taken back in the day. There's no expansion draft coming soon. Taylor probably could contribute in the majors if given a chance.

Even though he's one step away, right now, he's not really that close.

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