SATURDAY, 6:53pm: Alford will indeed undergo surgery and is likely to miss at least four to six weeks, per Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
9:07am: The Jays have announced that Alford will meet with hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan next week and that he’s likely to have surgery.
WEDNESDAY: The Blue Jays have placed outfielder Anthony Alford on the 10-day DL, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca first reported on Twitter. Per the club’s announcement, Alford has been diagnosed with a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist.
Alford, 22, had only recently been called up for his first taste of the big leagues. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether he’d hold down a roster spot for more than a brief stretch. Now, Alford will accrue major league service time while he heals. His expected recovery timeline isn’t yet known, though typically such injuries require around six weeks of down time.
Injuries rarely come at opportune moments, but the timing is particularly unfortunate here. Alford was off to a strong start at Double-A, slashing .325/.411/.455 with 16 walks against 24 strikeouts before his promotion. That came on the heels of a tepid 2016 performance, and the club surely hoped to see him extend that momentum — perhaps setting the stage for holding down a regular MLB role.
From the team’s perspective, it also hurts to see Alford’s service clock run while he’s out. It’s possible for the youngster to pick up as many as 136 days of service this year. Even if he ends up returning and being optioned later in 2017, thus limiting the tally, the service days accrued now could potentially play a role in determining when Alford reaches arbitration or even free agency.
Coming up to take the open spot on the active roster is Dwight Smith Jr. The 53rd overall pick in the 2011 draft, Smith had recently been optioned after making his own MLB debut following a strong showing to open the season at Triple-A.