Never slide head-first into first base, kids.
Josh Hamilton is the latest cautionary tale against this practice, injuring his left thumb in the Angels’ 5-3 loss to the Mariners Tuesday night. An MRI exam on Wednesday revealed a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in the thumb, according to reports, as well as a torn capsule. Hamilton will undergo surgery in the next few days and the injury is expected to keep him out for six to eight weeks.
The play occurred in the seventh inning as Hamilton was trying to beat out a grounder to shortstop. He seemed all right at first, popping right up after getting thrown out and jogging back to the dugout with a sheepish smile. Perhaps he just wanted to get off the field as soon as possible. Hamilton asked manager Mike Scioscia to pinch-hit for him in the ninth, as the left thumb swelled up and made it difficult to swing hard.
“It hurts,” Hamilton told reporters, including the L.A. Times‘ Mike DiGiovanna, after the game. “It stinks that it happened. I don’t know how many times I’ve done that before and this has never happened. I thought I jammed it a little bit, but it was more severe than I thought.”
Hamilton, 32, was off to a great start for the Angels, looking to erase the memory of his poor first season in Anaheim. He was hitting .444 with a 1.286 OPS, two doubles, two home runs and six RBI in 33 plate appearances. Batting in the fourth and fifth spots of the lineup, he was providing the Angels with some much-needed run production.
J.B. Shuck was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake, as the Angels placed Hamilton on the 15-day disabled list. The 26-year-old batted .375 with a 1.108 OPS, two triples, a homer and four RBI in 25 PAs.