07/26/10 2:19 PM ET
Cubs top prospect Vitters breaks finger
Third baseman could miss the final month of season
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
Playing for the Tennessee Smokies in the Double-A Southern League on Sunday, Vitters was hit by a pitch from Mississippi Braves starter Jacob Thompson in the fifth inning. Vitters came out immediately after he was struck by the 2-2 offering, replaced on the bases by 2009 first-round pick Brett Jackson. It has been confirmed that he broke the middle finger on his left hand as a result of the pitch.
There are no details yet as to the severity of the injury, though Vitters is headed to Chicago to be seen by the team's hand specialist either on Monday or Tuesday. With just about a month of the season left, it seems probable that the third baseman will miss the remainder of the 2010 campaign.
"It's a shame," Cubs vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita said. "He stepped up, he was hitting in the middle of the lineup, hitting third. You could see he was looking to finish strong, in the middle of the action on a team playing outstanding baseball. His defense was improving and he was giving quality at-bats. To see this bump in the road -- I don't know the magnitude of it -- it's a shame."
Vitters, the Cubs' top selection (No. 3 overall) in the 2007 Draft, began the year with the Daytona Cubs in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. He got bumped up to Double-A after 28 games with a .291/.350/.445 line. He's hit .223/.292/.383 in 63 games with Tennessee but was showing some signs of life, hitting .303 over his past 10 games. Still just 20, Vitters had hit a combined 10 homers and 20 doubles in 316 at-bats, striking out 63 times while drawing 21 walks.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.