Braves catcher hears pop on hit-by-pitch, thankful to avoid fracture
Special to MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Gerald Laird didn't have the best day from a health perspective, but it could've been a lot worse.
Laird left the Braves' 3-1 loss to the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field in the fourth inning after being hit on the left hand on a pitch from White Sox starter Jose Quintana. After going to first base, he was examined by Braves trainer Jeff Porter and replaced by pinch-runner Joey Terdoslavich, who stayed in to play left field.
Evan Gattis, who started in left, moved behind the plate to replace Laird. X-rays taken of Laird's hand showed no fracture. He was diagnosed with a bruise and thanked his good fortune for the results and that he didn't have to leave in the third after apparently tweaking his leg beating out an infield single.
"I've broken my hand before getting hit by a pitch like that and I think what scared me the most was I heard a little pop," Laird said. "I don't know if my knuckle popped or what happened, but it's not broken, which I'm happy about. Two years ago, I got hit in the same hand and broke my finger. I'm just glad it's not broken. It's the only thing that worries you when you get hit in the hand or the fingers. It's so fragile right there, so I'm glad it's just not [broken]."
Laird's injury is the latest in a rash of ailments the Braves have had in the past two series. That was a big reason they played it on the safe side and got the X-rays.
"I wanted to stay in, but they just wanted to take an X-ray and make sure it wasn't broken," said Laird, who came into the game hitting .296 as the backup catcher. "We have a lot of guys kind of banged up."
Jason Heyward (right hamstring strain), B.J. Upton (right adductor strain), Justin Upton (left calf strain) and Freddie Freeman (jammed left thumb) were all hurt in a four-game series against the Reds before the All-Star break, while Paul Maholm left Saturday's game against the White Sox with a sprained left wrist.
B.J. Upton is the only one who's landed on the 15-day disabled list, while Justin Upton and Freeman are back. Heyward is expected to return to the starting lineup on Monday against the Mets in New York, playing center field.