If you’re a pitcher trying to make a name for yourself in the majors, in my book there’s only one thing smarter than punching a wall really, really hard. That’s when, discovering that you broke your hand during your temper display, you decide to hide the injury from the trainer by pushing the protruding bone back in, and then going back out to pitch. Oh, yeah.
Unfortunately, Jeff Bennett isn’t pitching with the Atlanta Braves at the moment, and that’s a shame. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list after his injury was finally discovered by the Braves, and will have surgery to insert a pin in the break in his fifth metacarpal below the base of the pinky finger of his non-pitching hand. But if I’m ever in a brawl with five New Zealanders, give me Bennett as backup every time. He broke a bone in his hand, pushed the freakin’ thing back in and went back out to pitch the seventh. That’s so “Braveheart.”
Bennett suffered the injury during the Braves’ game with the New York Yankees on Wednesday night, an 8-4 Atlanta loss. From the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION:
Bennett said he punched a door after the inning, and was in such a state of anger, he couldn’t remember doing it until he saw the dent.
The bone was broken all the way through, and a bump rose beneath the skin. Bennett said he pushed the bone back into place, didn’t tell anyone what happened, and went back out and pitched the seventh.
He gave up a homer to Nick Swisher in the seventh but made it through the inning. About 30 minutes later, Bennett finally told a team trainer what he had done. He said he waited because he was afraid and embarrassed.
Bennett is 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA in his past 11 games, allowing 12 hits (two homers), seven runs and nine walks in 12 innings in that span. For the season, he has a .316 opponents’ average and .415 opponents’ on-base percentage, including .295/.468 with runners in scoring position.
“I’m ashamed of myself,” he said after seeing the Braves’ hand specialist Thursday. “This is a professional sport; you handle yourself in a professional manner. I didn’t do that. … I’m just hopeful that [manager] Bobby [Cox] and [general manager] Frank [Wren] will give me another chance.
“A lot of things boiled up, and I didn’t handle the release of those very well.”
And apparently, Bennett isn’t comfortable being on the field unless he’s bleeding.