Pittsburgh Pirates centre-fielder Anthony Alford’s season is over after the team placed him on the 45-day injured list Sunday with a fractured right elbow.
Alford, who was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 27, left Saturday night’s 6-2 win over visiting Cincinnati in the third inning after slamming into the outfield wall in pursuit of a home run by Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart.
“Honestly, it makes me feel a little sick to my stomach just because of the opportunity he has right now, but even more so knowing the person and the kid,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters of Alford. “Just to see the pain and anguish in his eyes, it’s difficult.”
Alford, 26, had a home run and four RBI in his first five games with the Pirates and there was optimism surrounding the team about what he could accomplish with more playing time.
“He was playing really well for us, and I was excited to see him in centre field [Saturday] for the start,” said Pittsburgh starting pitcher Trevor Williams. “I’m hoping that he’s going to be healthy for spring training. It sounded like he would be. I’m excited to see what he can bring and add to our team in spring training.”
‘I know I can be a great player at this level’
A highly regarded prospect — the Blue Jays drafted him in the third round in 2012 — Alford hit .265 with a .358 on-base percentage in nearly 2,100 plate appearances in the minors but only had 75 plate appearances from 2017-29 with Toronto.
He called the seven-day period after the Blue Jays designated him for an assignment “the longest week of my life, just waiting on the phone call.
“Honestly, I was hoping that it was a team, like, where I would get some opportunities, instead of going to another team where I would be in a similar situation where their outfield is kind of set. I’m glad I ended up here.”
With a better chance at playing time, Alford said, he believes he can make good on his untapped upside.
“I know I can be a great player at this level,” Alford, who has a reputation of being a good teammate, told mlb.com. It’s just a matter of getting here and playing on a regular basis and showing it, just believing in myself.”