Cory Giger from the Altoona Mirror is reporting that Cole Tucker has a broken left hand and will be out for 4-6 weeks. That eliminates him from the rest of the playoffs obviously, but could also affect his placement in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL begins on October 10th, so the low-end estimate for his time missed would have him back in time, but the league doesn’t normally allow rehab players to play in the league. As with all AFL rules for participation, there is plenty of flexibility, so we will see if Tucker can play in the league or if he gets replaced on the roster by someone else from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tucker hit .257/.349/.377 in 42 games with Altoona this season. He went 3-for-5 in the first game of the playoffs for Altoona, then was hit by a pitch on his foot during the first inning of last night’s game. The injury likely occurred when he was thrown out stealing third base in the first inning, although he did play an inning of defense and fielded a grounder before leaving.
This is the fourth injury for Tucker that will cause him to miss development time. During his draft year (2014), he injured his left thumb during the GCL season and missed the Fall Instructional League due to surgery for a torn UCL. The next season, he had labrum surgery near the end of the season, which had him out the last month and also cost him time at the beginning of 2016. Earlier this year, he fractured his right thumb, but ended up returning quicker than expected. He missed 22 days total, though he did take days off between games after his return, so he wasn’t full strength right away.
With Tucker being placed on the DL, Kevin Kramer will take his roster spot. Kramer wasn’t eligible to be added to the playoff roster until the second round, unless a player was placed on the DL to create an open spot. He played rehab games with the GCL Pirates and Morgantown over the last eight days, going 3-for-15 in four games, three of them at second base. Kramer had been out since early June with a broken hand.