An injured shortstop is something the San Diego Padres didn't want to deal with, but are all too familiar with, and 2009 will be no different.
Over the past three seasons, the Padres have dealt with former shortstop Khalil Greene missing a significant chunk of time due to injury, and the majority of the time, it was to his throwing hand.
This was an injury that, because of the lack of depth at that position, would make a huge offensive and defensive impact on the team. It prompted the Padres to part with Greene, trading him to St. Louis this past offseason.
This time, it's young shortstop Everth Cabrera who suffered a hand injury in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Phillies. Cabrera is expected to miss at least two months of the season, this according to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune.
Cabrera is scheduled to have a CT scan done on the hand later today, but the early prognosis was not good. He apparently suffered a fractured hamate bone during his sixth-inning at-bat against Phillies' pitcher J.A. Happ.
The hamate is a triangular bone at the base of the fifth metacarpal (little finger) near the wrist. Hamate fractures aren't unusual among baseball players, and there's no risk of not making a complete recovery from the injury.
In the interim, look for Luis Rodriguez and possibly Edgar Gonzalez to split starts during Cabrera's absence.
Look for Rodriguez to get most of the time at shortstop, but he doesn't have a batting average (.231) that will turn your head, however, with an on base percentage (.395) that the Padre brass likes, he's the odds-on favorite to get the majority of the starts.
For a kid who hadn't seen time above low A-ball in the Colorado Rockies' system, the San Diego Padres took a risk on Cabrera and selected him in the last Rule IV draft. Cabrera wasted no time in impressing Padre coaches, not only with his athleticism, but also with his tremendous speed...something this team hasn't had in quite some time.
He made the usual mistakes—rushing his throws and trying to make too much happen at one time—but he worked as hard as any player during spring training, and was awarded by making four starts in the Padres' first thirteen games, hitting .308 (4-for-13) with a double in that stretch.