Greene breaks toe, out 2-3 weeks
Padres shortstop optimistic he'll be back for stretch run
SAN DIEGO -- Khalil Greene has been diving for baseballs his entire baseball career, but this dive was different. This dive has him headed for the disabled list with a broken toe, of all things.Greene, the Padres' second-year shortstop, suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left big toe while diving for a ball in the third inning of Sunday's 8-3 loss to the Phillies and is expected to miss two to three weeks. The injury occurred when Greene dived after a hot shot to his backhand side hit by Philadelphia's Todd Pratt. Greene twisted toward the outfield when he dived, and the awkward impact caused his left foot to jam into the ground violently. "I kicked it pretty good," Greene said. "I don't know if the angle I was diving had something to do with it, but I came down hard. That's the hardest I've ever kicked it, I guess you could say." Greene, who suffered a broken finger last September and another one this April, will be placed on the DL and will undergo a CT scan on the toe Monday for further evaluation. The Padres will make a corresponding roster move to bring up an infielder before they begin a six-game road trip Tuesday at Florida. Padres trainer Todd Hutcheson said he hadn't seen an injury quite like this one, since normally the tops of a player's feet hit the ground on a dive like that one. "He was diving toward the outfield, so his body was kind of spinning when he hit," Hutcheson said. "He came in and said he knew something wasn't right." Greene played out the remainder of the third inning, taking a kick to the legs from Pratt on the next play as the Phillies catcher broke up a potential double play. Once the inning ended and Greene got into the trainer's room, it was clear he was done for the day, but it wasn't clear this was a debilitating injury. Hutcheson said the toe didn't look too bad once he took off Greene's shoe, and Greene said the pain actually began to subside with time. But an X-ray revealed the fracture, which goes straight through the distal phalanx, or the tip of the toe. "Because the fracture goes into the joint, it's a big deal that it's lined up," Hutcheson said, adding a displaced fracture likely would have required the surgical insertion of a pin. There's a certain sense of déjà vu at work with this injury. Last year, Greene was dueling with his friend Jason Bay of Pittsburgh for National League Rookie of the Year honors before a bad hop at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 13 caught him on the right hand, causing a non-displaced fracture of his right index finger. On April 18 of this season, also at Dodger Stadium, an errant throw by catcher Ramon Hernandez bounced and caught Greene on the right hand, causing a fractured right ring finger. "It's frustrating, but that's a part of the game," Greene said. "You don't really have control of these things." Said Hutcheson: "This one was a freak thing, but he still obviously had enough force to break it." Greene entered Sunday's game having gone 5-for-18 with a homer, a double, three runs and three RBIs in the first five games of the homestand, and he added a double in his first at-bat Sunday. "He was just playing terrific baseball," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "I dropped him into the five-hole [Sunday]. He was playing good defense and swinging the bats. He was one of our hot bats, so this is quite a blow for us." The timing's not good, but as Greene pointed out, it never is. "There's really no ideal time for getting hurt," he said. The 25-year-old shortstop is optimistic that he'll be back for the stretch run as the Padres try to hang on to the lead in the scuffling NL West race. "I think I should be all right," Greene said. "I'd imagine I'll be back this season." Predictably, Greene maintained an even-keel demeanor about the injury, just as he does with a game-winning homer or a strikeout. "I don't get upset about it," Greene said. "It's just a little frustrating that such a strange thing puts you in a hole."
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.