Alford's Big League Debut Dampened By Wrist Injury
Even the replacements for the replacements haven’t been spared from the run of injuries to strike the Blue Jays. A broken left hamate bone suddenly stunted Anthony Alford’s impressive progress.
The highly regarded 22-year-old center fielder suffered the wrist injury swinging and missing on a 2-1 pitch from Brewers reliever Neftali Feliz. He had ripped a double off Rob Scahill for his first big league hit in his previous at-bat.
Alford struck out versus Feliz, finished the bottom of the ninth in left field and then went for X-rays that revealed the fracture. A planned surgery was expected to keep him out of action until early to mid-July.
“It was definitely a way to rain on the parade,” Alford said. “It was an exciting day for me getting my first hit and on top of that getting a win, but unfortunately we had some bad news.”
Alford’s timetable to the majors accelerated when fellow outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, up for all of three days after Steve Pearce hit the disabled list, suffered a partial subluxation in his left shoulder while hitting a home run.
Despite Alford spending just 33 games at Double-A New Hampshire, the Blue Jays called him up after he slashed .325/.411/.455 with three home runs and nine stolen bases.
“Anthony took a significant step forward,” farm director Gil Kim said. “He’s become a lot more consistent squaring up the baseball. He cut down his strikeouts there in New Hampshire and definitely improved his first-step reads in the outfield.”
The interruption to his season is frustrating for Alford, a 2012 third-round pick out of Petal (Miss.) High.
“I was pretty down,” he says. “But at the end of the day, I can’t control the injury. I just basically come out and try to play to the best of my abilities and do what I can to help the team.”
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— Shi Davidi is a columnist for Sportsnet