SAN DIEGO -- Eric Hosmer’s best season as a Padre was derailed in inconceivable fashion on Monday night -- with a two-strike bunt attempt that resulted in a fractured left index finger.
Hosmer was removed from the Padres’ 1-0 win over the Rockies after he was hit with a fastball on the left hand in the first inning. Manager Jayce Tingler indicated after the game that Hosmer, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday, could miss anywhere from two to six weeks.
“We're going to need a handful of guys to step up,” Tingler said. “We knew coming into this year, things were going to happen. This one hurts. But at the same time, we’re going to have some guys step up, and we’re going to keep this offense, defense, the whole thing … we’re going to keep it moving. We're going to hold ground, and we're going to get him back.”
Facing left-hander Kyle Freeland with a 1-2 count in the first inning at Petco Park, Hosmer tried to drop a shift-beating bunt up the third-base line. Freeland's fastball tailed up and in and caught the fingers on Hosmer's left hand.
The pitch was also ruled to have struck Hosmer's bat, and the ball trickled foul for strike three.
It was a huge stroke of misfortune on top of a poor decision from Hosmer, who has been in the midst of a renaissance season with the Padres. He's hitting .288 with an .886 OPS and eight home runs in 31 games. That success is largely the result of an overhauled swing which has helped him curtail his ground-ball tendencies.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the Padres landed another lefty-hitting first baseman at the Trade Deadline. Mitch Moreland, who was acquired to serve primarily as designated hitter, replaced Hosmer at first base on Monday night. He’s the most obvious candidate to fill in for Hosmer over the next few weeks.
Moreland has struggled since his arrival, hitting just .105 for the Padres after an 0-for-3 night Monday. But his OPS for the season sits at .979 after an excellent first month with Boston. The Padres expect Moreland to regain that form in short order.
“I feel confident Mitch is going to get going,” Tingler said. “He's going to grind, he's going to work, he's been in a good place all year. These things happen. You'll go into a couple ruts through a regular season. In a short season, it happens, too. ... He's been doing it all year, and he's got a track record.”
Outfielder Abraham Almonte was recalled from the Padres' alternate training site when Hosmer was placed on the IL.