No team has been hit harder by injuries this year than the Rays. Among them is their young star shortstop Wander Franco. He sustained an injury to the right hamate bone on July 10 which required surgery and has been out ever since. I’ve yet to see an article confirming just what sort of injury, but I presume bone plus surgery equals fracture.
Meanwhile, in July the Rays found themselves 15 games out of first in the AL East in July. Then they became the hottest team in the AL in August. The Yankees faltered a bit, and now the Rays are 4.5 back. With only three games against each other left, it’s still advantage Yankees, but now it’s at least a race. If the Rays keep playing as they have, they stand a good chance of at least hosting a wild card series.
This brings us back to Franco. Supposedly he took batting practice today without pain and is expected to resume a rehab assignment with AAA Durham. This sounds great, but he has had to stop his rehab three times due to recurring soreness in the hand, including last week. Carpal bone injuries have derailed careers before, and it’s easy to see why. Everybody who has ever hit a ball knows the shock felt at the base of the palm when bat meats pitched ball. That is where the carpal bones are, and a problem there can make hitting very painful. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the kid, but he is still only eight weeks out from surgery. More recurring pain would not be surprising.
Having him back in the lineup would be great, but not so vital as to risk his recovery going forward. If he has more setbacks, perhaps the Rays should shut him down. Again, if he is ready, wonderful. If not, the Rays will likely make the playoffs anyway, so let his hand rest.