Red Sox infielder Yu Chang underwent a successful left hamate excision on Thursday, the club announced. The procedure was performed by Dr. Matthew Leibman at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
Chang fractured his left hamate bone (a hook-like structure between the hand and the wrist) on a swing-and-miss in the seventh inning of Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Orioles in Baltimore. He was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday and told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) shortly thereafter that he expected to be sidelined for approximately six weeks.
“I feel grateful to play shortstop every day,” Chang said through translator Patrick Chu. “I appreciate the team giving me the opportunity to play there every day, to prove myself. But now, the unfortunate thing happened.”
Chang, 27, signed a one-year, $850,000 deal with the Red Sox in February after appearing in 11 games for the club season. The Taiwan native did not report to spring training in Fort Myers until late March, however, as he was delayed by visa issues after playing for Chinese Taipei and earning Pool A MVP honors in the World Baseball Classic.
Despite the lack of time with the team in camp, Chang still made Boston’s Opening Day roster. The right-handed hitter was used sparingly off the bench out of the gate, but he was thrust into action after Adam Duvall fractured his left wrist on April 9 and Enrique Hernandez began playing more center field as a result.
Prior to Tuesday’s injury, Chang had started 10 of the Sox’ last 12 games at shortstop. And although he was slashing just .186/.174/.341 in 47 plate appearances to begin the year, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder was providing some pop with his bat in the form of three home runs in his last eight games. He had also proven to be a quality defender at short, registering three defensive runs saved across 91 innings at the position.
With Chang set to miss the next several weeks, Red Sox manager Alex Cora will be changing up his middle infield mix yet again. According to Cotillo, Hernandez is expected move back to shortstop on a full-time basis while Christian Arroyo and rookie Enmanuel Valdez (who was called up in place of Chang) will split time at second base. Jarren Duran will also play more center field on account of Hernandez’s shift to short.
(Picture of Yu Chang: G Fiume/Getty Images)