Braves rookie outfielder Mallex Smith suffers left thumb fracture
Braves outfielder Mallex Smith fractured his left thumb after being hit by a pitch in Sunday afternoon's series finale against the New York Mets. It is the first significant injury setback of the rookie speedster's major-league career.
During a seventh-inning stint from Mets reliever Antonio Bastardo, whose command abandoned him in the 6-0 loss, a fastball ran inside and hit Smith's left hand. After trying to remain in the game to run the bases, Smith was pulled and underwent X-rays.
No timetable has been set for his return.
The Braves will reevaluate Smith's status after he visits with a specialist, Dr. Gary Lourie, in Atlanta on Monday, but he is expected to miss time.
"This is part of it. Those things happen. I hate it for him," Braves manager Brian Snitker said after his team's sweep against the Mets. "The kid likes to play and he's progressing and doing well. It's just one of those freak things, but it happens all the time. He'll be alright. He'll heal and get back and be fine."
Smith has developed into one of the Braves' most valuable position players this season, hitting .237/.312/.379 and three home runs. The 24-year-old's 14 stolen bases ranked eighth-best in baseball entering Sunday's games.
With Smith facing time off, the Braves will likely turn to veteran Jeff Francoeur in left field to pair with traditional starters Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis.