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Rangers’ Brock Burke Disrupts Recent Spate Of Pitcher Elbow Injuries, Breaks His Hand

Brock Burke pitches for the Texas Rangers
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Brock Burke was smart enough to remember that you can't pitch with a broken throwing hand. But you can't pitch with a broken non-throwing hand, either. The Texas Rangers placed the left-handed pitcher on the injured list with a broken right hand on Saturday, a result of Burke's frustration with his underwhelming appearance Friday against the Houston Astros.

Burke entered the seventh inning with his team holding a 12-3 lead, and it should've been an opportunity to rebuild his confidence. In his previous appearance, also against the Astros on April 8, he had replaced Rangers starter Andrew Heaney with two men on and two outs in the third inning. The Rangers led 5-4 when Burke came in; he allowed those runners to score, recorded no outs, and added a third earned run to spot the Astros a 7-4 lead in a game they won, 10-5.

Friday's low-leverage appearance did not rebuild Burke's confidence, although the Astros probably felt a little better about themselves. He did record two outs this time, but he also plunked Yordan Alvarez, gave up a two-run shot to Kyle Tucker, and didn't finish the inning. Burke was ultimately tagged for four earned runs on three hits. The Rangers still won, 12-8, but it was not the get-right appearance he had desired. With a total of five appearances this season, Burke's ERA is 15.00.

A relief pitcher with a bad outing is a nightly occurrence. The newsworthy part is Burke's wall punch. With all the conversation about the early-season trend of UCL tightness and subsequent surgeries requiring months of rehab, it's almost refreshing to get a dumb baseball injury such as Burke's. A baseball player punching something hard out of frustration is well-charted territory—there's usually one or two of these per season—but it's nice to have a brief respite from Neal ElAttrache or Keith Meister digging around in somebody's elbow. Disclaimer: This post becomes null and void if Burke experiences any kind of arm soreness or pain during his future rehab appearance.

"You love the fact that [Burke] was upset with not helping the club last night … but it just wasn’t a smart move," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said about the punch. This sounded like a glowing compliment in comparison to how Bochy addressed the Astros' irritation when Burke plunked Alvarez: “Any team would be upset in that situation with pitches, when he’s struggling trying to throw strikes. Four pitches go at their guy. Just like we’re going to be upset. But Burke was out there … because he’s trying to find his game. He wouldn’t have been in that game if he had good command and control.” Sheesh.

After placing Burke on the IL, the Rangers called up right-hander Austin Pruitt. Just to be safe, he shouldn't try anything reckless with either hand.

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