Choo headed to DL with broken left thumb

Choo headed to DL with broken left thumb

SAN FRANCISCO -- Shin-Soo Choo's trying season has taken another unfortunate turn.

In the fourth inning the Indians' 4-3 Interleague loss to the Giants on Friday night, Choo had his left thumb broken by a pitch from San Francisco left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. Cleveland's star right fielder is now bound for the disabled list.

"He's going to be out for a while," Indians manager Manny Acta said.

That was all Acta could offer shortly after the Tribe's latest defeat.

Choo was still at an area hospital at the time the Indians' game completed and the extent of the right fielder's injury was not known. Acta noted Choo also suffered a contusion on his hand, adding that the club would be able to provide more information on Saturday morning.

One thing is clear: Choo is headed to the 15-day DL. Acta indicated that outfielder Travis Buck -- optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Thursday -- was being recalled and was already en route to San Francisco.

Losing Choo is the latest in a string of injuries to hit the Tribe this season.

Outfielder Grady Sizemore has had two stints on the DL this year due to knee issues. Designated Travis Hafner missed one month due to a right oblique strain. First baseman Matt LaPorta is currently shelved with a sprained right ankle. Pitchers Mitch Talbot, Carlos Carrasco and Alex White have each missed time with health woes.

Cleveland has also been without outfielder Trevor Crowe all season due to a shoulder injury. And similar to Choo, infielder Jason Donald had his left middle finger broken by a pitch during Spring Training, costing him a shot at making the Opening Day roster.

Choo's injury impacts the Indians in a variety of ways.

"It's huge," Acta said. "He means so much to us, not only offensively, but defensively and running the bases. He's a very important part of our lineup."

In the fourth inning, Sanchez unleashed a 2-1 fastball that carried inside to Choo, who was unable to shift out of the way in time. The baseball deflected off the outfielder's hand and appeared to also ricochet off his helmet.

Choo collapsed to the dirt in the batter's box and stayed on the ground until a member of the Indians' training staff met him on the field. After Choo's hand was examined and his batting glove was removed with scissors, he left the game and headed to the trainer's room.

Shelley Duncan entered as a pinch-runner for Choo.

Choo has labored for much of the season at the plate and has admitted that his main issue has been between the ears. In early May, Choo was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. In the aftermath of his arrest, Choo let outside criticism distract him from his on-field performance.

Choo exited hitting .244, with five home runs and 28 RBIs in 72 games. He is homerless in his last 125 at-bats, dating back to May 13. The right fielder had, however, hit safely in 29 of his last 36 games, and posted a .370 average over his past eight contests.

Recently, Choo felt he was in a better place mentally.

"I feel better," he said earlier this week. "I feel a lot better."

The timing of Choo's injury could not have been worse.

"The way he's been swinging the bat the last week or so," Acta said, "and the way we know he was going to swing the bat the rest of the season, it's a big blow."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.