MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Chicago Cubs catcher Victor Caratini — reserve to Willson Contreras — is set for a computed tomography (CT) scan tomorrow to examine his left hand. Caratini reportedly told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that the X-ray might reveal a hamate fracture, which could shelf the catcher for a stretch.
Per NBC Sports, the injury occurred during the Cubs’ Thursday night game that led them to a 2-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Caratini claims that he hurt his hand in the seventh inning during his final at-bat when he swung at the first pitch thrown from Francisco Liriano.
“I felt it crack, but I felt hot, so I kept going and once I got to second base and took my batting glove off, I could tell there was something wrong.”
Although Caratini’s plate appearance that likely caused the injury was productive, if it ends up taking him out of the game, it might be his last until June, as hamate breaks typically need about one to two months to heal.
Hamate breaks are fairly common injuries for hitters but aren’t likely to lead to long-term problems, which is good news. The bad news is it could cause power depletion on return to the game — at least according to some. Regardless, losing Caratini for any period isn’t ideal for the Cubs.
Cartini has made 17 plate appearances this year with eight hits — four for extra bases — as well as three walks against four strikeouts. Although it’s not a ton of action, he’s playing a strong start and is definitely a Cubs asset.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon spoke about the injury to NBC Sports.
“Awful for him. I mean, this kid’s playing as good as you can play. Behind the plate, at the plate, both sides of the plate. He did so much good work during camp and so now, we’ll wait and see. I don’t think it’s gonna be something very quick.”
The Cubs initially pursued at least one veteran backstop during the offseason but settled on using Contreras and Caratini. The only other option is Taylor Davis or Francisco Arcia, who is the only other Cubs backstop with MLB experience. But if Caratini is missing at least one month of play, the organization might need to obtain a veteran from the outside.
Caratini has been getting along great with the Cubs pitching staff, as well as veteran southpaw Cole Hamels, who the Cubs traded for last summer.