While his teammates were opening the season against the Rangers Monday afternoon, Jamey Carroll was on his way to Baltimore to meet with Dr. Tom Graham.
The Indians' No. 1 utility player will be out four to six weeks with a fracture of the fifth metacarpal of the left hand, a consequence of being hit on the hand with a pitch by Astros reliever Doug Brocail in last Saturday's exhibition game in Houston.
Veteran Tony Graffanino was summoned to take Carroll's place on the roster.
"Jamey felt like he was OK two days ago,'' manager Eric Wedge said. "He stayed in the game and was able to grip a bat. Yesterday, I saw him in the lobby (of the team hotel), and the hand was still a little blown up, so I knew he probably was going to have to take X-rays. When he did, they saw something.''
There is a possibility that Graham will perform surgery on the hand, depending on the outcome of the orthopedist's examination.
"I'm not sure if he'll decide to reset the bone,'' Wedge said. "Even if he does surgery, we're looking at the same four to six weeks.''
Never before has Carroll been on the disabled list. He will be eligible to come off April 20, but his stay will be significantly longer than 15 days.
Carroll turned into one of the more valuable players on the team last year, when he was forced into semi-regular duty after second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera was sent to Buffalo for parts of June and July. In 347 at-bats, Carroll batted .277 with 60 runs and 36 RBI.
In speaking of his value to the club, Wedge said, "You talk about everything that Jamey does, the energy he brings, it's hard to replace that. Graffanino is going to fill that role, but what he does won't be exactly the same.''
In spring training games, Graffanino batted .271 with one homer and five RBI in 48 at-bats.
Carroll's injury probably won't affect the status of Josh Barfield, the Tribe's other extra infielder/outfielder.
"I think Barfiled will have the same role as before,'' Wedge said. "But that's hard to predetermine. You always have moving parts as we move from day to day.''
RUSHED TRIP -- Graffanino was relaxing at his home in Hockessin, Del., when he got the call to come to Texas at 3:15 Sunday afternoon. ¶
""I was getting ready to go to Columbus,'' he said. ""I got the last direct flight (to Dallas) at 5:45, so I had to hustle to make it.''
It's a 40-minute drive to the Philadelphia airport from Hockessin.
"I wanted to be in the big leagues,'' Graffanino said. ""I'm sorry it came at Jamey's expense, but I'm happy nonetheless.''
KNOWING THE DRILL -- Former President George Bush, who used to be a part-owner of the Rangers, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Before the game, he toured the Tribe clubhouse and met Wedge, who earlier had joked about the extra security measures in place.
"I didn't get frisked yet,'' the manager said. ""I was watching Clear and Present Danger last night, so that's on my mind.''
Bush autographed baseballs for several players and posed for individual photos with about 20 Indians before leaving.
"I got my picture taken with him, so everybody believes me,'' Kelly Shoppach said. ""He remembered me from when I was at Baylor. Crawford (where Bush has a ranch) isn't far from there. He said I was a good player.''
DELLUCCI UPDATE -- David Dellucci (strained calf) remains at extended spring training in Goodyear and is beginning to swing a bat but not against live pitching.
When Dellucci is ready to return to the field, probably some time this month, he will have to go out on a rehab assignment.
"He didn't get enough reps in spring training, even before the injury,'' Wedge said.