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Downs says he won't be slowed by broken finger

PHILADELPHIA -- Scott Downs said Sunday morning he didn't want to miss any more time than necessary after fracturing the tip of the ring finger of his non-pitching right hand attempting to field a comebacker off the bat of Chase Utley on Saturday night.

Fredi Gonzalez went so far as to say that he wouldn't rule out using Downs in Sunday's series finale against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

"I'm not counting him out," the manager said before the game. "I probably won't use [Luis Avilan] today. That would be three in a row, the last two nights in one-run games. But I think Downsie may be fine. What are the chances of him using his glove on a comebacker? And if he's using a splint, it's not going to make it any worse.

"I'll bet we've all had broken toes and gotten through it. The biggest thing is when he takes his hand out of his glove to rub up the ball. He goes, 'I don't rub it up that much.' The umpires may come out and say, 'Hey, what have you got on your finger.' But before we get to that point, I'll take him into the umpire's room and say, 'Hey, this guy has a chance to pitch with a splint. I want you to take a look at it.' If he's OK, he's available. It's up to him."

Downs and Avilan are the only two left-handers in the Braves' bullpen. As it turned out, though, neither was needed in what became a 3-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Downs said he still isn't sure how a ball hitting the outside of his glove could break his finger.

"I have no clue. I even went back and looked at film to try to figure out if it hit the back of my glove," he said. "I have no clue. I just know that when it hit my glove, it got really warm. Almost like it exploded, or whatever. After the play, when I took the glove off, I didn't know it was broken. It swelled up a little bit.

"If I'm going to break a finger I'd rather have it be on that hand, as opposed to my throwing hand. I don't expect much of a delay. It's just going to be a matter of pain tolerance. I can squeeze a little bit. I can move it around. I wish I knew it would be today, tomorrow, whatnot. But we'll just see how the treatment goes and go from there. I'm not missing a lot, no. It's not in my nature just to sit back and watch. I'll do whatever I can."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for
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