It’s hard to imagine the term “dropping like flies” being more fitting.
The RubberDucks have lost three players from the starting lineup to injuries in as many days. Making matters worse is that they’re the club’s top three players.
On Wednesday, the Ducks lost shortstop Francisco Lindor, the parent-club Indians’ No. 1 prospect, according to Baseball America. He suffered a broken nose while fielding a ball that took a bad hop.
On Thursday, the injury bug took a bite out of second baseman Joey Wendle, the Tribe’s No. 17th prospect, who suffered a broken hamate bone in his right wrist on a foul tip.
Then Friday, Ducks center fielder Tyler Naquin was hit with a pitch on the right hand and suffered a second metacarpal fracture.
“I don’t know what’s going on around here, but it’s kinda weird to have one guy after another getting hurt like this,” said Naquin, whose swollen hand rested on a flat board and was heavily bandaged.
“As soon I got hit, I knew it was broke. [The trainer] came out and I said, ‘It’s broke, dude. Let’s go [to the hospital].’?’’
After the swelling subsides, Naquin is scheduled to undergo a surgery that will likely require a plate and screws to be inserted. Wendle is also facing surgery.
However, RubberDucks manager Dave Wallace said, “The hamate is a more common injury” and thus, typically not as serious as Naquin’s and not as lengthy of a recovery.
“I really don’t think I have any more to prove at the Double-A level,” said a frustrated Naquin, who hit .313 with 12 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 30 RBI and 54 runs scored. “I feel comfortable with what I’ve done. I’m just going to go rehab and get my hand ready for spring training next year.”
Lindor ought to be able to return to the lineup this week. He’s scheduled to be fitted for a clear plastic mask Monday that will allow him to play with protection after missing about a week.
Naquin and Wendle will eventually head to the Indians’ year-round spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., to begin their respective rehab processes.
“In the last week, we’ve had some tough luck with injuries,” Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said.
“Francisco taking the hop off his nose, then another injury with Tyler and then the injury with Joey. All three. The good thing is none of them have long-term implications for them and they’ve all already made a great deal of progress developmentally so far this year.”
The RubberDucks are piecing together a new lineup. Infielder Erick Gonzalez was called up from high Class-A Carolina on Thursday to fill in for Lindor.
On Saturday, outfielder Ollie Linton joined the Ducks from Carolina for Naquin and third baseman Adam Abraham came down from Triple-A Columbus to fill Wendle’s roster spot.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.