Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dear Mr. Buxton: Please stop diving (Updated again)

Byron Buxton on Monday afternoon was named to play in the Arizona Fall League's "Fall Stars" game. On Monday evening he dove for a ball and left with an injury.

The Twitter reports were contradictory and confusing. It was his wrist. No, he dislocated a finger. No, it's a jammed finger. It's his left hand. No, it's his right hand.

It all finally seemed to settle on a jammed middle finger on his right (throwing) hand with X-rays (as of Monday night) to come. Which doesn't sound serious, but still ... (UPDATE: It is dislocated, and it's the left hand. That's as of Tuesday morning in Arizona; by dinnertime, the way this has gone, it may be different. FURTHER UPDATE: I was being sarcastic on that previous sentence; as it turned out, it has changed. "Small fracture," they say.)

Buxton has, in this calendar year, twice injured his left wrist, initially diving for a ball in the outfield and then on a slide while running the bases. He also sustained a significant concussion in an outfield collision, also diving for a ball. All these injuries have limited him to fewer than 200 plate appearances in High A, Double A and the AFL.

It all makes me wish Buxton could commune briefly with the ghost of Earl Weaver, the legendary manager.

Weaver didn't want his fielders diving for balls. His contention: It raises the risk of injury, and if the ball is missed, it worsens the result by taking the fielder out of the play. An outfielder's dive can turn a single into extra bases; an infielder's dive makes him slow in getting into cutoff position or covering a base.

In Buxton's case, fewer dives figures to mean more time on the field.

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