Hairline fracture could sideline veteran for a month
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks, who have tried to stay on the cusp of the playoff picture without one of their aces, found out Tuesday they'll be without both of them for at least the next month.
An MRI performed on Curt Schilling's ailing right hand showed the pitcher sustained a hairline fracture of the third metacarpal and a chip off the fourth metacarpal when he was hit in the hand twice during his last start, last Friday in San Diego.
"It is what it is, you have to accept it, deal with it and do whatever you can on a daily basis to get better," said Schilling, who missed time earlier this season when he underwent an appendectomy.
Schilling had X-rays taken the night of the injury and emergency room doctors in San Diego said there was not a fracture. Schilling, though, said the hand kept getting worse, prompting the D-Backs to send him to hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan.
Head athletic trainer, Paul Lessard, declined to speculate on when Schilling, who is wearing a removable splint, would be able to return to action.
"All I know is Doc Sheridan said to keep that immobile for three weeks so we'll do that," he said. "We can still do the shoulder work and the leg work and all that fun stuff to keep in condition, so at the end of that timeframe he'll be able to move along better than starting from Point A."
Arizona manager Bob Brenly said, "I can't really tell you exactly when we can expect to see him back on the field. Optimistically maybe a little before the (All-Star) Break. Pessimistically a little after."
Schilling joins fellow ace Randy Johnson on the disabled list. Johnson, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery May 1, experienced last week what Paul Lessard described as a "bump on the road" in his rehabilitation when he experienced some swelling in the knee.
"People don't realize the extent of the surgical procedure he had," Lessard said. "There's sections of his knee right now that are bone on bone, so you're going to get some swelling from time to time. The problem is when you get some swelling you're going to fall back a little bit strength-wise.
"I don't think he'll be ready in three weeks."
The D-Backs have been hit with a barrage of injuries this year to their pitching staff as well as position players like Craig Counsell. They trailed the Giants by 9 1/2 games heading into Tuesday night's game.
"I don't care what time of the year, 9 1/2 games is 9 1/2 games," Schilling said. "With a full roster of veteran big league players it's a big deficit, which we don't have. I think we'll know rather quickly in the next couple weeks how legitimate our chances of getting back into it are."
Along with Johnson and Schilling, the Arizona DL includes pitchers Brandon Webb, Matt Mantei, Mike Koplove and Counsell. The D-Backs have raided their Triple-A Tucson team for pitchers such as Webb, Andrew Good, Chris Capuano and John Patterson.
"That vaunted pitching depth we talked about down in Tucson during Spring Training is no longer, because they are all up here," Brenly said.
Still, the skipper said he believes there's still enough time this year to make a run at the playoffs.
"I believe that," Brenly said. "I've seen a lot of teams come back from huge deficits a lot later in the season than we are right now. I still believe that once we get all of our pieces back together, if we can just stay within shouting distance, we've got a good run left in us."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Poor Curt, first he breaks the camera, then he breaks his hand. Tough year for DBacks and the fans.