Red Sox infielder Yu Chang was forced to exit Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Orioles in the seventh inning with a left wrist injury.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Chang swung and missed at a 1-1, 80.3 mph slider from Orioles reliever Bryan Baker. Upon completion of his swing, the 27-year-old was clearly wincing in pain, which prompted manager Alex Cora and assistant athletic trainer David Herrera to pay him a visit from the visitor’s dugout.
After a brief conference, Chang was removed from the game and was replaced by Christian Arroyo, who struck out in his place. Arroyo then took over defensively at second base while Enrique Hernandez slid over from second to shortstop for the final two innings.
Chang was later diagnosed with what the Red Sox described as “left wrist pain” and will undergo further testing in Baltimore on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. There is some preliminary concern that Chang may have injured his hamate bone, a hook-like structure that forms part of the wrist joint.
“He’s in pain. He’s going to get tested tomorrow,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) at Camden Yards. We’ll see where we’re at. Right now, it’s sore. That’s all we can say right now.”
According to Cotillo, who was in the clubhouse after the game, Chang could be seen expressing concern about the potential severity of his injury to a teammate. To that end, it seems likely that Chang will be placed on the injured list and an infielder will be called up from Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday.
Two prime candidates to fill in for Chang are prospects Enmanuel Valdez, who made his major-league debut last week while Chang was out on paternity leave, and the speedy David Hamilton, who currently owns a .997 OPS in his first 17 games with the WooSox this season. Both Valdez and Hamilton are already on Boston’s 40-man roster.
As noted by Cotillo, any serious injury to Chang would further shake up Boston’s middle infield depth since Trevor Story (elbow surgery) and Adalberto Mondesi (ACL rehab) are already on the 60-day injured list. Chang was brought in as a reserve infielder, but he has seen his playing time increase in recent weeks after Adam Duvall broke his left wrist and Hernandez started to log more innings in center field as a result.
Including Monday, Chang had started five straight and 10 of the last 12 games at shortstop for the Red Sox. The versatile 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has provided the club with some surehanded defense across the infield, but he has also showed some signs of life at the plate by making hard contact and homering three times in his last eight games.
(Picture of Yu Chang: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)