On Sunday, Angels pitcher Jered Weaver hit the deck to avoid a liner up the middle. He immediate came up holding his left, non-throwing arm, and left the game. Today comes word that he fractured his elbow, and will miss 4-6 weeks.
"I tried to catch myself and saw the ball coming at me. I didn't land right on it. Definitely, hyperextended it or something," Weaver said Sunday. "I kind of landed on my glove and I pushed to get out of the way. I landed in an awkward position."
This obviously sucks for Weaver and for the Angels, but we have to ask the question: is this injury funny or sad?
Baseball history is littered with weird injuries that seem to disproportionately affect pitchers. Denny McLain dislocated four toes while sleeping. Charlie Hough broke his pinky during a handshake. Steve Sparks dislocated a shoulder trying to tear a phone book in half. Tom Glavine strained a rib while vomiting. John Smoltz ironed a shirt he was wearing. Joba Chamberlain dislocated his ankle on a trampoline. Gio Gonzalez got rug burn while playing with his French Bulldog.
Even the players themselves often laugh about it after the fact. But Weaver's injury doesn't fit neatly into that gee, isn't baseball dopey? category. It actually occurred on a mound. It's a pitching injury. While it wasn't strictly demanded by the play, it wasn't incidental either.
Weaver's reaction touches on safety issues. He did exactly what pitchers are taught to do on lined comebackers—get out of the ball's way. We often see pitchers reflexively reach out with their bare hands, a situation that can only go bad. Just last week, Hiroki Kuroda banged up a finger. And then there are the shots to the head. Sometimes they're only scary, sometimes they're serious.
Weaver's first instinct was self-preservation, and that's a good thing. Yet it was that, with an assist from the fluky angles of the human frame, that will have him on the DL for the next month or so.