Baltimore Orioles outfielder Michael Bourn suffered a broken finger while having a football catch after Friday’s practice, manager Buck Showalter confirmed on Saturday. The 34-year-old veteran had just signed a minor league deal with the club on Monday.
According to Duke University’s Dr.Selene Parekh, Bourn is unlikely to require surgery unless the bone has shifted or involves a joint. Parekh believes surgery is doubtful and Bourn is likely to only miss four to six weeks.
He was expected to fight for a spot on the team as a backup outfielder. Bourn had played part of 2016 with Baltimore and his .283 batting average with the team was his personal highest since 2011. The injury timetable puts Bourn at a disadvantage to make the roster because he may not be back in time to get any spring training games in.
Bourn has lost most of his speed, his main fantasy asset, as he has aged. His injury means little to nothing in fantasy but perhaps provide a longer leash for left fielder Hyun Soo-Kim that we already expected to be longer in 2017.
Kim is coming off a strong rookie season despite seeing only 305 at-bats. He had a .302 batting average with six home runs and 22 RBI’s at the bottom of the order. He is currently listed as the starting left fielder for the team on the Baltimore Orioles official website, and Bourn’s injury will only give him more chances to produce. Though he should not be viewed as a starting fantasy outfielder, he is worth targeting at the end of most drafts in 12-team standard leagues.
Baltimore already had a lack of experienced outfielders heading into spring training. The Bourn injury serves as a serious blow to the team’s depth on a spot in the field where they don’t have much.
Joey Rickard was another player projected to be among the Orioles backup outfielders. Rickard did not do much with the bat last season after the month of April, but will be in line to see the bulk of the backup outfield playing time until the team signs another bat.
Craig Gentry, a non-roster spring training invitee, saw his chances to make the Opening Day roster just increase with Bourn’s injury, but has never been a legitimate fantasy baseball asset during his career.