White out 2-3 months with finger injury

White out 2-3 months with finger injury

White out 2-3 months with finger injury
CLEVELAND -- Sitting at his locker inside the Indians' clubhouse on Sunday morning, Alex White deferred to Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff when asked about his hand injury.

That often signals the arrival of bad news.

Sure enough, Soloff indicated that White -- arguably Cleveland's top pitching prospect -- is expected to miss two to three months with a sprained ligament in his right middle finger. The 22-year-old starter will not even be permitted to pick up a baseball for a minimum of three weeks.

"We want to be as conservative as possible in Alex's case," Soloff said.

White injured the finger while firing off an 86-mph slider two pitches into the third inning in Friday's 5-4 victory over the Reds. On Saturday, the young pitcher underwent an MRI exam and had his finger examined in Cleveland by renowned hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham.

The Indians placed White on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.

Soloff said the injury deals with a finger pulley in the middle of the digit that holds a tendon to the bone. The Tribe's head trainer noted that it is an issue that can arise for some pitchers and rock climbers. In White's case, Soloff believes it was bound to happen at some point.

"If it didn't happen on the slider," Soloff said, "I think it was still going to happen."

Indians fans may recall Cleveland pitching prospect Adam Miller -- a first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft -- dealing with a similar issue. Miller missed the 2009-10 seasons due to a middle finger injury, which required four surgeries. He is now a reliever for Class A Kinston.

Soloff said White's injury is not as severe as the one Miller dealt with.

"In Miller's case, there were other complicating factors," Soloff said. "[There was] a tendon issue and, if you remember, Adam also had a fissure as well that was a cause for concern for infection.

"The two cases are similar in the sense that they both involve a long finger, but after that there don't appear to be any similarities."

Unlike Miller, White is not expected to require surgery.

White, who was Cleveland's top pick in the '09 Draft, remained in Friday's game and faced six more Cincinnati hitters before exiting. Soloff said the pitcher was allowed to remain in the game after passing the on-field examination.

"You examine him and it's a clean examination," Soloff said. "He tells you, 'I want a couple warmup pitches here,' and then he throws and says, 'I'm fine. I'm good to go.' It speaks to Alex's toughness and his competiveness and we're looking to have him back out there as soon as possible.

"He was adamant about his ability to stay in the game and compete. It's clear that on that pitch is when he injured that ligament."