The Pittsburgh Pirates suffered an important loss on Friday night after backup catcher Luke Maile suffered a broken right index finger in an intrasquad scrimmage.
Maile, who was expected to play a key backup role behind starter Jacob Stallings at the position, will instead miss up to three months after undergoing surgery to fix the fracture in his finger.
The former Blue Jay was taking part in an intrasquad practice game with his teammates when he was hit by a pitch on his right hand. He exited the scrimmage immediately, and X-rays later found that the worst-case scenario of a broken digit had come true.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton lamented Maile’s injury, stating that “It’s really unfortunate for Luke because he felt like he was in one of the better spots he had been in his career swinging the bat, which was very evident in terms of how he looked during our intrasquad games.”
Maile is a career .198 hitter at the plate in five Big League seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, but has been lauded for his excellent defensive and pitch-framing skills behind the dish.
John Ryan Murphy is now expected to slot in behind Stallings as the team’s backup catcher.