All-Star Laird injured in final game before break
What should have been an uplifting end to a five-game losing streak and an otherwise terrific first half of the season turned into a potential nightmare for the Thunder today at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md.
All-Star third baseman and Eastern League Most Valuable Player candidate Brandon Laird, the league leader in home runs, runs batted in and total bases, had to be carried off the field after fouling a pitch off his left ankle in the sixth inning of Trenton’s 10-5 victory over the Baysox.
The severity of the injury likely will not be known until today at the earliest, but Laird has been scratched from Wednesday’s EL All-Star Game and Home Run Derby at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg.
According to Josh Norris at “Minor Matters,” neither Laird nor trainer Tim Lentych was seen in the visiting clubhouse following the game.
Currently vying for a spot on the Yankees’ 40-man major league roster in order to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, the 27th-round draft pick in 2007 had been among the most dominant offensive players in all the minor leagues until a 5-for-34 (.143) skid over his last 10 games.
In 89 games this season, Laird has 19 home runs, 81 RBIs, 174 total bases, a .506 slugging percentage and his hitting .276. The franchise record for RBIs in a season is 103 set by Raul Gonzalez in 1999.
How important is Laird’s bat to the Trenton offense?
During the recent five-game slide, which ended after the Thunder scored seven runs in the ninth yesterday to break open a 3-3 deadlock with Bowie, Laird was 2-for-18 (.111) with no extra-base hits and no runs batted in.
Trenton enters the break at 53-27 and one game behind first-place New Hampshire in the Eastern Division.
Depending on its severity, the injury not only has the potential to keep Laird out of the lineup and cripple Trenton’s chances at a third EL championship since 2007, but it also could take another valuable Yankees’ minor leaguer off the trade market with the deadline looming July 31.
The badly sprained ankle suffered by second base prospect David Adams in May reportedly was a contributing factor in Seattle backing away from an agreement last week that would have sent Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee to New York for a package that included Adams and/or Adam Warren, Jesus Montero and Zach McAllister.