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Pena is done for the year after breaking two fingers on left hand; Chris Richard joins team



UPDATE, 7:10: Richard got here shortly before game time and was officially added to the roster.

UPDATE, 5:28: Pena said he was in so much pain during the check swing that it was a wonder he didn't pass out and that from the X-ray his middle finger looked like "a pencil snapped in half.'' He likely will have surgery to reset it. "You don't take a 95-mph fastball on your finger and live to tell about it, or your finger lives to tell about it,'' he said.

But as bad as that was, worse he said was the realization that his season was over. "I was crushed,'' he said. "I felt like if you took my heart and threw it around and stepped on it a million times, that's how bad it felt. ... That hurt more than the hit by pitch itself. I know I'm going to be on some medication and the pain in my hand can be controlled but the pain I feel in my heart and my soul right now, that's the one that's going to be tough to get over. I really was very much looking forward to the next three weeks., not only for myself but for my team. Even though it was going to take a lot of winning, I felt like we were poised for that so I'm just bummed out that I won't be able to be part of that.''

The Rays will miss Pena's offense (39 HRs, 100 RBIs) and his defense, and also his leadership.

"I think it's an emotional blow for us, there's no doubt about that,'' OF Gabe Kapler said. "He's swinging the bat as good as anybody in the league right now, he hits in the middle of our lineup, he plays great defense, his energy is consistently positive. So I think we'll feel the impact of "los not being around.''

Said manager Joe Maddon: "It's pretty severe.''

Richard is on the way here, but Willy Aybar is in the lineup to play first in the night game.

UPDATE, 5:10: Pena will fly home Wednesday to see hand specialist. Gabe Kapler says losing Pena will be "an emotional blow for us." Pena says having season ended by injury like having his heart stomped on and crushed.

UPDATE, 4:38: In a post-game conference, the Rays said that Pena has fractured the middle and index finger of his left hand and is done for the year. He will go on 60-day DL. First baseman Chris Richard was added to roster. Aybar, Richard and Zobrist will share first base. Pena's injury shouldn't impact the 2010 season.

UPDATE, 4:21: Since the Rays aren't talking until after the game, we'll make this point - Pena's injury must be bad enough to sideline him for at least a while and the Rays don't want Willy Aybar playing first every day. If they just needed a lefthanded bat they could have called up Matt Joyce, who is on the roster.

UPDATE, 4:17: Now the Rays are saying that they are planning to call up Richard and hope to have him here. They'll need to add him to the 40-man roster, which they could do if Pena's hand is broken by putting him on the 60-day DL.

Richard, 35, hit .263 with 24 homers and 75 RBIs for the Bulls. He hasn't been in the big leagues since 2003.

UPDATE, 4:12: It must be bad, because according to the Durham Bulls press release, 1B Chris Richard has been called up and will play tonight. Rays won't confirm it.

UPDATE, 4:01: Looking like it may be post-game 1 before there's an update on Pena.

UPDATE, 2:22: Pena undergoing X-rays now, Rays say, describing it as an "injured" left hand.

UPDATE, 1:32: TV cameras here just showed Pena heading up to the clubhouse and looking upset.

UPDATE, 1:23: Pena left the game in obvious pain on a check swing, which is very bad news for the Rays. It was obvious by how long trainer Ron Porterfield was working on Pena's left hand that was something was wrong. 

Though the replays showed the ball hit Pena's hand and then his bat, the call was a swinging strike, as home plate umpire Jim Wolf checked with 3B ump Fieldlin Culbreth, who signalled a strike.

Pena, who leads the AL with 39 homers and was tied for second with 100 RBIs, was scheduled to play both games for the Rays.

UPDATE: He took a weak swing at strike three and was in obvious pain. Willy Aybar is in.

DEVELOPING: Not a good start for the Rays - Carlos Pena, their hottest hitter, struck on hand by a pitch, trainer working on him, crowd booing. He doesn't get first base because says he swung. But he stays in for now.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:51am]


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