Pena out for year with broken fingers

Updated: September 8, 2009, 4:18 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay slugger Carlos Pena broke two fingers when he was hit by a CC Sabathia pitch in the opener of Monday's day-night doubleheader against the Yankees.

Pena was hurt on an 0-1 offering in the first inning of a 4-1 loss, with the ball hitting his left hand and then his bat.

"I knew when the ball hit me it was going to be bad," he said. "You don't take a 95 mph fastball on the finger and live to tell about it -- or the finger live to tell about it."

Pena
Pena

Pena broke the middle and index fingers. He will return to Florida on Tuesday and meet with the Rays medical staff before a determination is made whether he needs surgery.

Pena leads the AL with 39 homers and finished with 100 RBIs.

"I was crushed," he said. "It felt like you had taken my heart, thrown it around and stepped on it. That hurt more than the hit by pitch itself. I was really very much looking forward to the next three weeks. I wanted to keep putting it out there, tying to do the best I could. Now I have to wait another year."

Pena didn't even get to take first. He initially headed up the line, but plate umpire Jim Wolf checked with third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who signaled Pena had swung.

Pena was examined by trainer Ron Porterfield and manager Joe Maddon for several minutes, remained in the game and had a check swing for strike three. He held his hand as he walked from the plate and was replaced at first in the bottom half by Willy Aybar.

"When I was taking the dry swings, I knew it was bad, but I thought I could handle the pain. When I had the check swing, you know you have to stop all that weight. It really hurt," he said. "When I saw the X-rays, it was obvious that it was broken, almost in half."

A year after its surprise run to the AL East title, Tampa Bay has faded from contention. The Rays have lost five straight, matching their season high, and began the day seven games behind wild card-leading Boston.

Now they've lost their top power threat.

"It's very discouraging," Maddon said. "He was swinging the bat about as well as anyone I've seen this season."

Tampa Bay put Pena on the 60-day disabled list and purchased the contract of first baseman Chris Richard from Triple-A Durham. Richard was in Durham, N.C., and immediately headed to New York.

He arrived just before the night game began and pinch hit in the eighth inning of the Rays' 11-1 loss. He walked in his first big league appearance since April 30, 2003, for Colorado against Cincinnati.

"I never thought I'd get another opportunity to get back," he said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press