Soriano Hit By Pitch on Hand, Early Reports Not Good
In the second inning of Wednesday night's game, Soriano was late to react to a high and tight fastball from Braves' emergency-starter Jeff Bennett, and got hit on his left hand. He was taken from the game to a nearby hospital, where X-rays evidently revealed a "minimally displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal."
I will leave it to our resident M.D., "Cubster," to fill in all the relevant medical details. (Any new visitors to TCR coming for Soriano information really owe it to themselves to come back and read his expert analysis, when he gets the chance.) The early report from the ESPN broadcast team indicated that Soriano might be out for at least six weeks. (Sportscenter now reporting "up to" six weeks, while the article at mlb insists "a minimum" of six weeks.) On the local broadcast, Len also referred to several weeks on the DL.
Regardless of whether it was a direct response, this HBP comes a day after Ted Lilly threw a pitch over Brian McCann's head, the first pitch after having given up a three-run home run to Greg Norton. In the first draft of his post at the Tribune, Paul Sullivan reminded us that last year at Turner Field, Tim Hudson threw at Soriano, leading Lilly to throw at Edgar Renteria the following night, which then led to Renteria throwing a forearm at Mike Fontenot on a play at second. He also is reporting that Micah Hoffpauir will be called up tomorrow to fill the roster spot.
Six weeks from now would be July the 23rd, or 34 games between now and then. In the meantime, I would guess that Theriot moves to the leadoff spot with DeRosa being moved to LF and the two-spot in the order, with Cedeno and Fontenot covering second. (quick first update: that said, a quick review of the box scores from the last two weeks of April, when Soriano was out due to a leg injury, indicate that Fontenot and Reed Johnson split lead-off duties, with Eric Patterson also leading off once. Theriot stayed in the two-spot the entire time. While I could live with either of those two options leading off, again, my vote goes to a Theriot-DeRosa combo.)
To some extent trying to put a silver lining on this is like pissing in a river, but here are a few attempts. Remeber that Pujols looks like he also will be out for at least three weeks with a leg injury, and the Cardinals' offense is far more dependent on his bat that we are on Soriano's. (And in a complete lay-man's guess, I'd bet that the leg injury is more of a lingering problem than Soriano's finger.) The Cubs and their deep bench should be able to weather this better than the Cardinals will with Pujols out. Theriot and DeRosa won't be miscast at all as a 1-2 duo, and if anything, it should improve the defense a bit. Finally, remember how the Cubs did when Soriano was out for two weeks earlier this season due to a bum leg. The Cubs went 9-5 from April 16th, his first day out of the lineup until his return on May 1st. They averaged 7.35 runs in those games, including four games in which they scored 12, 13, 13, and 19 runs.
That said, get well soon, Alfonso.
Oh yeah - Cubs win, Dempster pitched a fantastic game.