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[Domonic] Brown has a fractured hook of the hamate bone, says Ruben Amaro. These injuries typically require surgery. Did it on first swing of game
What and where is the hamate bone? Look for H in the following image from Wikipedia (click to enlarge):
The Wiki entry on the hamate bone also notes that such injuries are common baseball players. Wily Mo Pena (June 2006), Brad Nelson (2004 off-season), Dustin Pedroia (September 2007), and Chris Dickerson (June 2010) — among others — have had the bone surgically removed.
Pena was a promising young hitter, but hasn’t played in the Majors since 2008, when he posted a .509 OPS in 206 PA for the Washington Nationals. In ’09, he had marginal success for the New York Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, and finally bounced back last year with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate, posting a .946 OPS in 159 PA.
Nelson never had more than a cup of coffee in the Majors. However, his ISO went from .180 in 2004 to .141 and .134 in the following two years after his hamate bone was removed. It wasn’t until ’07 that his ISO finally jumped back up to .207.
Pedroia’s ISO pattern is interesting. He played with the broken hamate bone in September, then had it removed in the off-season.
You can see that Pedroia started off the ’08 season with mediocre power, but gained it back by the end of the season. Is that a realistic timetable for Brown?
Prospect guru Keith Law of ESPN says “typical recovery time for power after a hamate injury is 12-18 months.”
I would go with Law’s theory rather than inferring from a small sample of cherry-picked (well, randomly cherry-picked anyway, if that’s possible) players. But at least in Pedroia’s case, there is some room for optimism.
The silver lining to Brown’s injury is that it almost guarantees that, when he is back to 100 percent, he will get regular at-bats in the Minors, rather than hitting every other day platooning in right field with Ben Francisco. Additionally, as Tommy Bennett of Baseball Prospectus noted on Twitter, the PECOTA projections for Brown and Francisco are nearly identical. The Phillies aren’t losing too much production now that they will most likely be using Francisco on an everyday basis.