This story has been corrected. Read below
Domonic Brown broke a bone in his right hand Saturday and in the next few days he and his team will learn what the specific course of treatment will be. The one thing everyone can agree on is that this is not good news.
Early X-rays indicate Brown fractured the hook of the hamate bone, one of the small carpal (wrist) bones towards the pinkie side of the hand. The bone sits at the base of the fourth and fifth metacarpals, the long bones in the hand that run from the base of the fourth and fifth finger to the carpals. Fractures of the hook of the hamate are not uncommon in athletes who play racquet or batting sports, often occurring as a result of repetitive stress transferred through a power grip, usually in the non-dominant hand. The injury can also happen acutely during a powerful swing or by falling on an outstretched hand.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Brown's injury to his right (non-dominant) hand happened during the first swing of the bat in Saturday's spring training game. He is expected to travel to Philadelphia early next week to consult with hand specialist Randall Culp, the same surgeon who operated on Jimmy Rollins' wrist.
Presuming the presence of a fracture is indeed confirmed, surgery is often the mode of treatment (usually to remove the "hook" portion of the bone although sometimes fixation of the fracture is an option). Any procedure is followed by a period of healing and rehab to regain range of motion and strength of the hand. The biggest challenge for a baseball player is restoring the grip strength necessary to effectively wield the bat. The Inquirer reports Brown could be out for three to six weeks but the time it takes to restore power to his swing could take longer. Several Red Sox players have dealt with the injury, including David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia had his surgery at the end of the 2007 season so he had plenty of healing time before the next season. Ortiz missed two months with the injury and acknowledged that it took some additional time to get past the soreness and restore full strength.
Fantasy owners should anticipate Brown's absence on Opening Day and potentially several weeks beyond, depending on the course of action. Perhaps more importantly it could be a couple of months before he returns to form.
An ESPN.com blog post regarding a medical examination for Philadelphia Phillies infielder Domonic Brown misidentified information about surgeon Randall Culp's previous work with the Phillies. Culp previously operated on Jimmy Rollins' wrist last December.