Dustin Pedroia not playing in Monday night's contest against the Yankees raised some eyebrows, but the Red Sox said that he had jammed his finger in Sunday's game against the Baltimore Orioles. It turns out that jammed finger was just the placeholder name for what was actually wrong with the Boston second baseman: Pedroia broke his finger, and will miss the rest of the season.
The rest of the season is two games, though, and it's not as if Boston is playing for anything at the moment, so this is a little easier to swallow than most injuries. Especially since the avulsion fracture of the ring finger of his left hand is expected to heal this off-season without surgery. If you're going to break a finger, now is certainly the optimal time for it.
An avulsion fracture occurs when a a bone fragment tears away from the rest of the bone due to physical trauma. Pedroia slammed his finger into the second base bag on Sunday while attempting to steal, an action that qualifies as physical trauma. Small fractures can be treated without surgery through rest and with the assistance of a splint. Pedroia has over four months before spring training start, so that will be plenty of time.
Pedroia has dealt with hand injuries a few times already in 2012, likely due to his hard style of play. That's not likely to change any time soon -- Pedroia's only speed is hard -- but one wonders if he can protect his hands with some kind of protective glove going forward. Jeff Bagwell used padded batting gloves to avoid breaking his hands back in the 90s -- after multiple broken hands -- and Pedroia seems to be making a habit out of finger and thumb injuries on baserunning plays.
Pedroia will not go on the disabled list, given that expanded rosters are still in play, and there are all of two games left in the regular season. The Baltimore Orioles probably aren't pleased about this, either, since it means the Red Sox lineup is going to be even weaker while the Yankees and Orioles fight for the right to start their playoff run in the AL Division Series, rather than in the one-game wild card round.