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Strange but true: freak injuries fairly common

Bizarre injuries commonplace throughout baseball history
MLB.com @_dadler and @MannyOnMLB

Every Major Leaguer wants to avoid the disabled list, but injuries happen -- and some are far stranger than others.

For every injury that happens on the field during a game, in practice or in a workout session, there's another that occurs off the field, sometimes in bizarre circumstances. And really, even some of the freak injuries that do happen on the diamond have nothing to do with the game action itself.

Every Major Leaguer wants to avoid the disabled list, but injuries happen -- and some are far stranger than others.

For every injury that happens on the field during a game, in practice or in a workout session, there's another that occurs off the field, sometimes in bizarre circumstances. And really, even some of the freak injuries that do happen on the diamond have nothing to do with the game action itself.

Crazy injuries have affected players from every part of the game, from little-used relief pitchers to some of the greatest legends of the sport. MLB.com is taking a look at some of the craziest.

2018: Salvador Perez, Royals
Only two days before Opening Day, the Royals announced that their star catcher would miss four to six weeks with a Grade 2 tear of the MCL in his left knee. But Perez, who entered 2018 having started the most games of any catcher since his first full season in 2013, didn't hurt himself on the field. He fell carrying luggage up a flight of stairs at his home in Kansas City.

Video: Perez on missing four-to-six weeks with MCL tear

2017: Madison Bumgarner, Giants
The Giants ace missed nearly two months of the 2017 season after a dirt-bike accident during one of the team's scheduled off-days in Denver. Bumgarner, who'd been riding dirt bikes his whole life, rented a bike with a couple of relatives and went out riding in the mountains. He bruised some ribs and sprained his pitching shoulder in the crash.

2016: Trevor Bauer, Indians
One of the most memorable images of the 2016 postseason was Bauer's pitching hand dripping blood on the mound in the American League Championship Series. How did it get to that point? An unfortunate run-in with his drone. The Indians pitcher cut his right pinkie finger repairing the drone, when he was sliced by the propellers. He tried to give it a go in Game 3 of the ALCS, but his stitches opened in the first inning and he had to leave the game because of the bleeding.

Video: ALCS Gm3: Bauer shows off drone that caused injury

2011-15: Jeremy Affeldt, Giants
Affeldt had a string of freak injuries. First, the left-handed reliever cut his hand while trying to separate frozen hamburger patties for a barbeque in September 2011. The next season, in May 2012, Affeldt sprained his right knee when his 4-year-old son jumped into his arms. Then in August 2015, Affeldt partially dislocated his left knee while playing with his kids on an off-day at Loon Lake near his offseason home of Spokane, Wash.

2010: Kendrys Morales, Angels
In a joyous moment that quickly turned into cause for concern, Morales belted a walk-off grand slam to lift the Angels over the Mariners on May 29, but broke his left ankle in the celebration at home plate. He would not only miss the rest of the 2010 season, but also all of the 2011 season after setbacks in his attempted return to action. Morales has nonetheless had productive seasons since, posting an .821 OPS with 52 homers from 2015-16 for the Royals before his OPS dropped to .753 in 2017.

Video: SEA@LAA: Morales hits walk-off slam, hurt celebrating

2006: Joel Zumaya, Tigers
During Zumaya's rookie season, the 100 mph-throwing right-hander injured his right wrist while playing the popular video game Guitar Hero and missed three games. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old ended up appearing in 62 games with a 1.94 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. And on the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero 2, Zumaya got a special message in the credits, which read: "No pitchers were harmed in the making of this game. Except for one. Joel Zumaya. He had it coming."

2005: Clint Barmes, Rockies
In June 2005, Barmes fell and broke his collarbone while trying to carry a package of deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton. Barmes and Brad Hawpe had visited Helton's ranch after a game against the Reds, after which Helton treated them to dinner. Barmes liked the deer meat so much that Helton gave him some to take home. The injury required surgery and Barmes missed almost three months.

2004: Sammy Sosa, Cubs
Sosa slugged 609 career home runs and was part of the legendary home run race with Mark McGwire in 1998, but this might have been the strangest moment of his career. In May 2004, Slammin' Sammy sneezed so hard that he sprained a ligament in his lower back. The two violent sneezes, apparently caused by back spasms, sent Sosa to the DL.

2002: Marty Cordova, Orioles
Cordova had an unfortunate run-in with a tanning bed in 2002. To be exact: The former Rookie of the Year fell asleep in one and sunburned his face. Doctors told Cordova he should stay out of the sun as much as possible while the burn healed, so he had to miss a few games. Day games only.

1994: Steve Sparks, Brewers
One of the classic feats associated with the strongman is tearing a telephone book in half. Well, Sparks decided to try that for himself during Spring Training in 1994, when he was a 28-year-old knuckleballer who had not yet pitched in the Majors. His journey was delayed when he dislocated his left shoulder trying to rip apart the phone book. But Sparks did eventually make it to the big leagues, and he pitched nine seasons in his career.

1993: Rickey Henderson, Blue Jays
Henderson missed three games in August 1993 with frostbite on his left foot because he left an ice pack on the foot too long. Yes, that's right -- frostbite in August. Major League Baseball's all-time stolen base king would continue to burn up the basepaths himself, swiping a Major League-record 1,406 bags in his 25-year Hall of Fame career.

1990: Glenallen Hill, Blue Jays
Hill went on the disabled list in 1990 after falling through a glass table, resulting in cuts and bruises to his feet, knees and elbows. What caused the fall? Hill had just woken up from a nightmare about spiders chasing him -- he was afraid of spiders -- and in his confused state, he fell through the table.

1985: Vince Coleman, Cardinals
Prior to Game 4 of the 1985 National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Dodgers, Coleman was run over by Busch Stadium's automatic tarpaulin, injuring his leg. The tarp machine was rolling out as rain began to fall during batting practice. The 24-year-old speedster was a big reason St. Louis had reached the NLCS, having stolen 110 bases en route to winning that year's NL Rookie of the Year Award. He would miss the remainder of the series, though the Cardinals would eventually win it to advance to the World Series, which they lost to the Royals in seven games.

1983: George Brett, Royals
Even Hall of Famers aren't immune to strange injuries. On June 7, 1983, Brett was at home in Kansas City doing laundry. In the other room, the Cubs' game was on television. Brett heard the announcer saying Bill Buckner -- his good friend -- was coming to the plate, and he didn't want to miss the at-bat. While running to the TV room, he smashed his foot on the door jamb and broke his pinkie toe. He had to go on the DL.

1936: Joe DiMaggio, Yankees
Joltin' Joe hadn't even played his first Major League game when the crazy injury bug bit him. After a minor foot injury in Spring Training, DiMaggio went for treatment using something called a diathermy machine, a heating device used in sports medicine. But the machine was too hot, and DiMaggio burned his foot, which emerged red and blistered. It took about two weeks to heal, and then his Hall of Fame career began.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Trevor Bauer, Madison Bumgarner, Kendrys Morales, Salvador Perez