Former first round pick, and one of the top Chicago Cubs’ positional prospects, Josh Vitters is likely out for the rest of the 2010 season after breaking the middle finger on his left hand.
Playing for the Tennessee Smokies in the Double-A Southern League on Sunday, Vitters was hit by a pitch from Mississippi Braves starter Jacob Thompson in the fifth inning. Vitters came out immediately after he was struck by the 2-2 offering, replaced on the bases by 2009 first-round pick Brett Jackson. It has been confirmed that he broke the middle finger on his left hand as a result of the pitch.
There are no details yet as to the severity of the injury, though Vitters is headed to Chicago to be seen by the team’s hand specialist either on Monday or Tuesday. With just about a month of the season left, it seems probable that the third baseman will miss the remainder of the 2010 campaign.
“It’s a shame,” Cubs vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita said. “He stepped up, he was hitting in the middle of the lineup, hitting third. You could see he was looking to finish strong, in the middle of the action on a team playing outstanding baseball. His defense was improving and he was giving quality at-bats. To see this bump in the road — I don’t know the magnitude of it — it’s a shame.” cubs.com.
The timing probably couldn’t have been worse for the soon-to-be 21-year-old Vitters. He’d finally just started to turn it on, hitting over .300 in his last 10 games. For the year, he played well in 28 games at High A Daytona, but struggled mightily at AA Tennessee – going just .223/.292/.383.
Fortunately, this should not be the kind of injury with lingering effects, and Vitters should be good to go by next year, if he doesn’t play Fall or Winter ball, that is. We’ll almost certainly see him in Spring Training.