ARLINGTON -- Jamey Carroll made it through 20 spring exhibition games and 61 at-bats without incident. It was the last pitch he saw that did him in. Carroll was hit by a pitch from Astros reliever Doug Brocail in the ninth inning Saturday at Minute Maid Park, breaking the fifth metacarpal shaft of his left hand. Carroll was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Monday's season opener against the Rangers and will be out at least four to six weeks, according to manager Eric Wedge.
The Indians replaced Carroll on the active roster with veteran infielder Tony Graffanino, who will essentially fill Carroll's shoes as the primary utility man, filling in mainly at second base and short. But Graffanino can also help out at first base and in left field, if need be. As for Carroll, both he and Wedge told reporters the hand was fine after Saturday's game and at Sunday's workout at Rangers Ballpark. But the hand remained bruised, and an X-ray on Sunday revealed the fracture. Carroll was headed to Baltimore on Monday to see team hand specialist Dr. Tom Graham, who will determine whether Carroll, who has never been on the DL in in six previous Major League seasons, needs surgery. "It's a judgment call on the doc's part," Wedge said. "I was told it will be in that four-to-six range [regardless of whether Carroll has surgery]." Carroll, 35, was a valuable and versatile member of the 2008 Tribe. He batted .277 with 13 doubles, four triples a homer and 36 RBIs in 113 games. He started 66 games at second base, including a five-week stretch in which he filled in as the primary second baseman while Asdrubal Cabrera righted himself at Triple-A Buffalo. Carroll also made 18 starts at third. Graffanino will take over that role. He had a strong spring camp, batting .271 (13-for-48) with eight runs scored, two doubles, a homer and five RBIs in 23 games. "It will be very similar," Wedge said. "Jamey's been a fantastic player for us. When you talk about the energy he brings and the athleticism, it's hard to replace that. But we've had Graffanino here all spring. He can play some first base for us, too, so that helps us a bit." The 36-year-old Graffanino has played 12 big league seasons with six teams -- the Braves, Rays, White Sox, Royals, Red Sox and Brewers. He has batted a combined .267 with 58 homers and 302 RBIs. He was batting .238 with nine homers and 30 RBIs in 86 games for the Brewers in 2007 before suffering a season-ending right knee injury in August. Last year, coming off the knee rehabilitation, Graffanino signed a Minor League deal with the Tribe and played in 25 games at Triple-A Buffalo. He hit .315 with seven doubles, a triple and six RBIs, playing all four infield spots. Wedge said this development probably won't change Josh Barfield's role much, if at all. Barfield is available to play at second base, third and in the outfield, but it's expected he'll continue to be used primarily as a late-inning pinch-runner.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.