Gators lose starter for 3-4 weeks

Florida shortstop Richie Martin will miss 3-4 weeks with a broken pointer finger on his right hand. The freshman was squaring to bunt in the fourth inning against Miami on Sunday when his finger slid up near the barrel and got pinched between the bat and the ball. He was immediately removed and had an X-ray on Monday.

Richie Martin had reached base in the first 12 games of the season for Florida and is hitting .327 with a .377 on-base percentage and seven runs scored while starting every game at shortstop. The freshman is also 3-for-3 in stolen bases this season.

A three-week rehab would put Martin back in time for the Gators' game against Florida State in Jacksonville on March 26. If it's four weeks, Martin should be able to return for the series at Mississippi State on April 5.

Either way, Martin is expected to miss the first conference weekend series against Kentucky and at Vanderbilt.

Cody Dent replaced Martin at shortstop on Sunday and should continue to do so in the Florida lineup. Martin paired with freshman outfielder Harrison Bader to hit first and second respectively to start the season. With Martin out, Bader could slide up to hit in the leadoff spot.

The Gators return to action on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Jacksonville University.

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