Barmes breaks collarbone in fall at home

Updated: June 7, 2005, 5:22 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Clint Barmes went out to the grocery store and came home with a spot on the disabled list.

The Colorado Rockies' rookie sensation is expected to miss at least three months after breaking his left collarbone while carrying groceries up the stairs in his apartment building after a game Sunday night.

Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.

I figured, I'm an athlete, I can walk up the stairs, it's not that big a deal. Obviously, if I had to go back, I would have waited, or at least been a bit more careful going up.
Clint Barmes

"Obviously, accidents happen," said Barmes, a shortstop who is leading National League rookies in most offensive categories. "It's very unfortunate for this to happen the way it did."

Barmes said he was returning home with a bag of groceries cradled in his left arm and a sweat shirt in his right hand. He got tired of waiting for the elevator and decided to take the stairs to his fourth-floor apartment.

"I figured, I'm an athlete, I can walk up the stairs, it's not that big a deal," Barmes said in an interview Monday, his left arm hanging in a sling. "Obviously, if I had to go back, I would have waited, or at least been a bit more careful going up."

Barmes said when he felt himself slipping, he dropped the sweat shirt and tried to grab onto the railing. Next thing he knew, he had landed directly on his shoulder. Once in his apartment, he said it didn't feel too bad, but he moved it around, felt some cracking and knew something was wrong.

"It hit hard enough, I guess," he said. "It hit hard enough to make it hurt for about three months."

Barmes hovered around .400 and led the major leagues in batting average for about the first six weeks of the season. After a mild slump, he was still leading NL rookies in hitting (.329), runs (40), hits (74), doubles (16), home runs (8) and RBI (34) heading into Monday's game.

He was definite rookie-of-the-year material, but now those hopes are gone due to what he called "the craziest thing that's happened to me, by far."

"I was stunned," teammate Brad Hawpe said. "Those are the freakiest of injuries. Clint is the kind of guy you expect to be in the lineup every day. Someone like that doesn't want to sit down."

Barmes' slip and fall adds to a long list of freak injuries sustained by baseball players over the years.

Some of the more memorable included:

Sammy Sosa spraining a ligament in his back after sneezing last season.

John Vander Wal tearing cartilage in his knee while shoveling snow soon after signing with the Reds last year.

Marty Cordova of the Orioles burning his face in a tanning salon in 2002.

• Toronto's Glenallen Hill, in one of the strangest of them all, sustaining cuts and scrapes on his feet, knees and arm during a violent nightmare about spiders. Hill popped out of bed, bumped into a wall and scrambled up a staircase -- all without waking up.

In Denver, Barmes will take a place aside former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese who, in a five-month span in 2002, sprained his ankle tripping over his dog and was knocked unconscious after tripping on a driveway at Terrell Davis' house.

"This is going to be hard sitting there watching when I know I could be out there helping the team," Barmes said. "I'm as disappointed as anyone else could be, if not a lot more."

The injury is devastating news for the Rockies, who entered Monday night's game against the Chicago White Sox on a four-game winning streak -- their longest of the season -- but also with the NL's worst record (19-36).

Barmes was the most promising rookie on a roster filled with young players and few dependable veterans outside of Todd Helton. Now, Barmes joins second-year second baseman Aaron Miles (rib cage) on the disabled list.

His wasn't the only unusual news on a most unusual day in the Colorado clubhouse.

Manager Clint Hurdle wasn't at the ballpark because his 2-year-old daughter, Madison, was readmitted to the hospital. Madison was in the hospital last month with seizures, forcing Hurdle to skip part of a road trip. Bench coach Jamie Quirk took Hurdle's place.

Also, the Rockies lost catcher Todd Greene, who tripped just before reaching home plate on his home run trot Sunday against the Reds, injuring his hamstring

Greene was placed on the 15-day disabled list and was replaced by Triple-A catcher Danny Ardoin.

Barmes, meanwhile, was placed on the 60-day disabled list and his spot on the roster was taken by infielder Tim Olson, also from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

"We'll move on," Quirk said. "That's what minor league systems are for. We're not worried about that part of the Rockies right now. We hope he gets well."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press