Playing Through Injury Sabotaged Chris Okey's Numbers
Catcher Chris Okey doesn't know if a broken hamate bone was the reason he hit .185 in his first full season in 2017, but he sure hopes that was a contributing factor.
"I think sometimes (hamate injuries) take away the flight of the ball and how hard you swing," he said, noting that can have a trickle down effect on every hitting statistic.
The 20216 second-round pick out of Clemson hit half as many home runs (three) in 362 plate appearances at high Class A Daytona last year as he did in 169 PA at low Class A Dayton in 2016.
The 23-year-old's numbers in the Florida State League last season were, frankly, dismal. He hit .185/.265/.249 in 93 games.
"Obviously it didn't go the way I planned, and a lot of other people planned it to go," Okey said. "It makes you look forward. I've felt the all-time low. I've felt what it's like to go 0-for-30."
While happy he was able to play a full schedule, Okey was disappointed that he didn't get the injury looked at earlier. He said his hand had bothered him since spring training, but he wanted to play through it.
Only after the season did he have it checked out. Okey's Google searches had led him to think he had a sprained ligament in his wrist, but it was diagnosed as a fracture. He had surgery to repair it and enters 2018 feeling better.
"At the end of the day, it was my decision to play with something like that," he said. "Honestly, it was a little selfish on my part to put the team I was with in jeopardy with the numbers I put up.
"When it comes to something like that, if I go into a season knowing I have an injury, I think it's my job to finish it. Maybe it did have a little bit of an effect on the way I played. But at the end of the day, it's something I chose to play with and I'm accountable for it."
Chris Okey Gets The Long-Awaited MLB Call
Chris Okey is headed to the majors, which is a useful reminder that catchers develop differently.
• Brandon Dixon has shown his versatility in Cactus League games, playing first base, second base, third base, left field and right field. "I draw the line at catcher," he joked.
• Outfielder Jose Siri suffered a thumb injury in the first Cactus League game of the season when he crashed into the center-field wall while trying to make a catch. He was expected to be ready for the start of the minor league regular season.