Angels’ Jeff Mathis has a broken wrist
As it turns out, catcher Jeff Mathis played the final two innings of Monday’s game with a broken wrist.
Reliever Kevin Jepsen threw a pitch in the dirt in the eighth inning, and the ball bounced up and smacked Mathis’ bare hand. He stayed in the game, but he complained of soreness after the game, and X-rays Tuesday revealed the fracture.
The Angels put him on the disabled list — he is expected to be out at least six weeks — and recalled utility man Robb Quinlan from triple-A Salt Lake.
The injury comes at a particularly inopportune time for Mathis, who had all but emerged as the starting catcher. Mathis, better known as a defensive specialist, was batting .324 with a .500 slugging percentage. He started the season with a career batting average of .200 and a career slugging percentage of .320.
Manager Mike Scioscia called the injury a “freak thing.” He said Mathis blocks the ball as well as any catcher in baseball but somehow got his bare hand in a bad spot.
“His hand wasn’t where it needs to be,” Scioscia said. “It needs to be behind the glove.”
Mike Napoli, who replaces the injured Mathis in the lineup, is the Angels’ nominee at catcher on this year’s All-Star ballot.
Mathis started 10 of the Angels’ first 14 games this season. On the Internet, nothing stirs Angels diehards as much as the way Scioscia uses his catchers. Scioscia cites a defense-first philosophy and says Mathis is the superior defensive catcher, but some fans prefer Napoli’s power and ability to take a walk.
Yet, Scioscia was largely responsible for Napoli appearing on the ballot rather than Mathis. Each club submits its nominees before the season starts, after consulting with its baseball operations staff. Scioscia and General Manager Tony Reagins determined the Angels’ nominees, according to club spokesman Tim Mead.
Scioscia said both Napoli and Mathis are deserving, but the fans’ tendency to vote for players with the most impressive offensive statistics decided the issue.
“You couldn’t put both of them on the ballot,” Scioscia said. “It was 50-50. The All-Star voting is always geared toward offense, and that’s what separated those guys.”
Fans can apply for All-Star game tickets through a lottery, with registration starting Wednesday at the Angels’ website and mlb.com. The All-Star game will be played at Angel Stadium on July 13.
Winners can buy two packages to events for All-Star week, with each package including a ticket to the game, the July 12 home run derby and the July 11 celebrity softball game and Futures Game for top prospects, as well as two tickets for the fan festival at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The prices for the packages range from $440 to $950. Individual tickets will not be sold for the All-Star game or home run derby but will be sold for the fan festival ($30) and the celebrity softball game and Futures Game ($50 to $200).