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06/17/08 9:45 PM ET
Barfield sidelined 6-8 weeks
Infielder undergoes surgery on middle finger of left hand
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
DENVER -- Hand specialist Dr. Tom Graham put his finger on exactly what was wrong with second baseman Josh Barfield, and it wasn't good news for the Indians. A ligament in the middle finger of Barfield's left hand required surgery, which Graham performed Tuesday in Baltimore. As a result, Barfield will be out of action for six to eight weeks. Actually, Barfield would have been out that long, regardless of whether or not surgery was performed, according to head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff. "If we were to not operate on Josh, his return to play would still be six to eight weeks," Soloff said, "and the outcomes are not as strong as if you have the surgery." Barfield, who logged just six at-bats after his June 9 promotion to the Indians, is the fourth member of the Tribe's 40-man roster to require surgery in the past month and the second one to be operated on by Graham. In addition to the Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery performed on Jake Westbrook and the arthroscopic surgery performed on catcher Victor Martinez's right elbow last week, top pitching prospect Adam Miller had a strained tendon repaired on the middle finger of his right throwing hand by Graham last month. Whereas Miller's injury affected the bottom of his finger, Barfield's injured ligament was on the top. Barfield injured the finger while checking his swing in an at-bat against the Twins' Scott Baker on June 10. The ligament is responsible for stabilizing the finger's tendon, Soloff said. So what does the Barfield development mean for the Indians? Apparently nothing, in the immediate future. Manager Eric Wedge said utilityman Jamey Carroll, who came into Tuesday batting .391 over his last 18 games, will continue to be the everyday second baseman, and Asdrubal Cabrera will continue to get re-educated at Triple-A Buffalo. Cabrera was optioned to the Bisons the same day Barfield was called up. Cabrera was batting just .184 in 52 games at the time of his demotion. But he has hit .458 (11-for-24) with three doubles and an RBI in six games at Buffalo.
"He's doing a great job from the outset," Wedge said of Cabrera. "You like to see that. As long as he keeps doing that fundamentally and physically, he'll be back here."
The physical issue is a pressing one. Wedge was not happy with Cabrera's conditioning this season.
"It was affecting his quickness and baserunning," Wedge said of Cabrera's weight. "You look at him last year in Spring Training, and we sent him down to [Double-A] Akron, and when we called him up [in August], he was a different player. So he's been there before. Now he needs to show the discipline to stay in that shape. He's still young and still learning."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.