Pittsburgh Pirates: Shaggin Flies In the Outfiled, or the Bench

Jim SimmonsContributor IMarch 8, 2009

The Pirates have a sudden rash of injuries in the outfield.

Brandon Moss is the latest.

Moss sprained the ligament in his right thumb in the second inning of Saturday's game against the Twins while trying to make a diving catch in right-center field. 

Moss described it as,"The ball skipped off the ground and pushed his thumb sideways".

Moss was to have X-rays and a MRI, when he returned to Bradenton.

The Pirates will know more, once the tests have been completed, until then, they are holding their collective breaths.

"He jammed it pretty good," manager John Russell said. "We'll have to just take the next steps and see where he's at."

Worst-case scenario would be tissue damage or a torn ligament, which sometimes requires surgery depending on the severity of the tear.

After sustaining that hit to the thumb, it didn't take Moss long to know that something was not right. Two hitters later he caught a line drive and cringed.

"I caught [Delmon] Young's fly ball and when I went to throw it in, it killed me just to put my thumb underneath the ball," Moss said. "I couldn't grip the ball, so I knew something was wrong."

Moss stayed in to play the third inning before being replaced by Garrett Jones in the fourth. He caught one fly ball in the third.

"It's frustrating," Moss said. "I'll get through it. I'll do whatever I've got to do and get ready again."

The Pirates will take a large hit if Moss' injury ends up being as severe as feared. Moss, 25, had already been pegged as the team's starting right fielder and was expected to be an integral part of the offense as well.

Here are the others:

  • Eric Hinske has been out since Feb. 26 with a left rib cage strain. He's progressing, but isn't expected back until the latter part of next week.
  • Steve Pearce, too, hasn't appeared in a game since Feb. 26 and is dealing with a strained left calf. Pearce is tentatively expected back late next week as well, but that's only if everything progresses well.
  • Jose Tabata is slowly working his way back to throwing after being shut down because of some mild inflammation in his right shoulder. Manager John Russell said that Tabata could play as a DH maybe as early as Monday, but his return to the outfield isn't so imminent.