MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs made Albert Almora the first draft pick of the Theo Epstein administration believing he could rise fast through the system. But the 18-year-old outfielder will have to slow it down after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand.
Almora announced the news on his personal Twitter account late Thursday night: “Not a good day! Broke my Hamate bone!” A Cubs official confirmed the injury – which is fairly common in baseball – happened during a swing that day.
Almora will need minor surgery that will likely sideline him for three or four weeks. At the moment, the Cubs expect him to be playing in games by late May.
Several high-profile players have dealt with hamate bone injuries across the years, including: Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Dustin Pedroia, Troy Tulowitzki, Pablo Sandoval and Nick Markakis.
Almora’s name has recently been all over the game’s top-prospect lists, from Baseball Prospectus (No. 18) to ESPN (No. 33) to Baseball America (No. 33) to MLB.com (No. 39).
The Cubs took Almora with the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft, sensing that the high school outfielder had an advanced feel for the game after playing on elite travel teams in South Florida and winning five gold medals with Team USA.
Before spring training started, it looked like Almora would probably make a stop this season at Class-A Kane County and get a taste of the Chicago market. The fans there are no doubt hoping for a quick recovery.