September 10, 2011
We've all stood at the barbecue, dressed in our finest apron, fired-up and ready to grill some juicy burgers at a family cookout, when we realize that something is wrong.
The grill is hot and the chef is ready, but the burgers are not. Someone — perhaps the wife, or a child — neglected to defrost the meat.
Sigh. Frozen, anyone can work with. But nobody grills six patties at a time!
That's likely the situation San Francisco Giants southpaw Jeremy Affeldt(notes) faced at a family gathering Thursday. Only, rather than do the safe thing by defrosting the burgers in a microwave, or even in some warm water, or just waiting, he tried separating the patties with a sharp knife.
Well, something went wrong, just like our parents said might happen, and Affeldt cut a deep gash in his right (non-throwing) hand. The injury required surgery lasting eight hours to fix nerve damage in his pinkie. Affeldt told the Associated Press that he came within a millimeter of cutting an artery.
He's out for the rest of the season.
Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News said the Giants have been "flame broiled" by injuries all season, and this one likely will persuade them to sever ties with Affeldt.
The Giants have a $5 million option on Affeldt for next season that they probably will decline, making him a free agent. So it's possible he has thrown his last pitch for the club.
Affeldt, 32, frequently is one of the better left-handed relievers in the majors. His comeback from a torn oblique muscle in 2010 was a nice, understated story for the San Francisco Giants and their run to the World Series — so it's a shame he and the club have to go their separate ways over this.
And Affeldt — you're not going to believe this, and nobody would blame you — is one of the smarter players in the major leagues. He reads a lot. Enjoys philosophy. Is very spiritual.
"I should have used hot water," Affeldt said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "If I had used a butter knife, nothing would have happened. The burger was coming loose and to wiggle it loose I used the knife and it pushed through the burger and right through my hand. It was not a slice, it's an actual stab. ... If it had been a serrated knife I could have done more damage."
Knowing is half the battle.
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