As we’ve learned over the years, if there’s a unique way to get injured, professional baseball players will typically find it in due time.
Nowadays, more and more of those unique injuries seem to be coming at a time when players are at their happiest: during pregame, in-game or postgame celebrations. Whether it be a good old thumb in the eye on a high-five attempt, or a twisted knee on an ill-timed jump over a dugout fence, celebrating has become just as dangerous as running into an outfield wall or sliding head-first into first base.
OK, maybe it's not as dangerous as the former, but it's certainly no less silly a way to get injured than the latter.
The latest of these celebratory injuries occurred on Thursday prior to the Rangers 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Texas. Beat writer Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram fills us in on the who and the what.
An over-the-top high-five from a teammate Thursday sprained Jeff Baker's thumb. He can't grip a bat.
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) June 14, 2013
When asked about his injury prior to Friday's game against left-handed starter Mark Buerhle, Jeff Baker, who's hitting .386 against left-handed pitching this season, offered only vague information to the assembled media and refused to disclose the name of the perpetrator:
Baker said the bizarre injury occurred before Thursday night's game against Toronto. The right-handed hitter said the thumb is still swollen and he can't hold a bat.
The 31-year-old did not identify the teammate who gave out the high-five.
''The teammate was a little over-excited, for whatever reason,'' Baker said. ''It bent my thumb back. It is what it is. It's unfortunate. We'll deal with it and move on.''
He may be ready to deal with it and move on, but we'd kinda like to know who the over-excited teammate was. Looking over their roster (including those on the disabled list) there's certainly no shortage of potential suspects. And by the that I mean players who seem to be overzealous by nature, and a couple others who may even have motives, as in a desire for more playing time.
Here are the guys I'm looking at the closest:
A.J. Pierzynski: Obviously Pierzynski's reputation precedes him. He's a hard-nosed type player that gets on the nerves of those in the other dugout, but is generally appreciated by his own teammates. Still, if there was ever one guy who would throw an extra hard high-five for no apparent reason other to get your attention and remind you who he is, it's A.J. Pierzynski.
Jurickson Profar and Chris McGuiness: With Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland nearing returns from the disabled list, perhaps it was one of the Rangers' rookies looking to keep a spot open on the roster. Baker gets playing time all over the diamond, but has recently split starts with the duo at first base and second base to help make up for the absent veterans, so either could benefit from Baker missing time.
Yu Darvish: Keeps hitters off balance with his wide array of pitches. Entirely possible he's the same way high-fiving. Never the same location twice.
Derek Holland: Seemingly energetic and happy at all times, I could see Holland innocently throwing a damaging high-five at an unsuspecting teammate.
Jeff Baker: Let's not discount the possibility that Baker is playing this down because he was just as over-excited as his unidentified teammate and therefore contributed to his own injury. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. It also wouldn't be the last.
Of course we can have a little fun with the injury knowing it doesn't appear to be too serious. As of right now the Rangers are calling Baker day-to-day, so unless it's aggravated or he goes crazy high-fiving over the next couple of days they should have him back in the lineup sometime next week.
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