Barton To Be Sidelined Six To Eight Weeks

The Sacramento River Cats will be without one of their biggest bats for awhile, as it was learned on Wednesday that Oakland A's top prospect Daric Barton will miss at least six weeks with a fracture in his left elbow. Barton, who was hurt in a collision at first on Tuesday, is in a cast and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. There was no damage to any of Barton's ligaments.

River Cats trainer Walt Horn delivered the news before the River Cats game against the Iowa Cubs at Raley Field on Wednesday that Daric Barton had sustained a fracture in the radial bone on his left elbow. Barton left arm has been placed in a cast, which he will wear for three weeks before being re-evaluated by the A's medical staff.

"We'll evaluate him again in three weeks and at that point we'll know more. Things can change. Who knows? We may be able to speed things up at that point," Horn said.

Horn indicated that Barton will likely miss at a minimum six weeks and could be out as long as two months. Barton was evaluated by A's team doctor John Frazier of San Ramon. The fracture is expected to heal on its own without surgery, according to Horn.

"They didn't say anything about [having to have surgery] right now. You never really know, but the fact that they put a cast on it, then that shouldn't be the case [that surgery will be needed]. He is a 20-year-old male, so it should heal nicely on its own," Horn said.

The collision took place in the first inning of Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Iowa Cubs. Former Arizona Diamondback World Series hero Tony Womack laid down a bunt to the third base side that third baseman Scott McClain had to make a tough throw on. The ball arrived on the runner-side of the bag just as Womack arrived and Womack collided with Barton's out-stretched arm. Barton laid on the ground for nearly ten minutes before being taken off of the field by manager Tony DeFrancesco and Horn. Originally, there were concerns that Barton had dislocated his shoulder or torn a ligament in his elbow.

"Usually on that play, you see something different [then a bone fracture in the elbow], but you don't really have any control over the way two bodies collide with each other. You can often see a shoulder injury or something [in a play like that]," Horn said.

In what perhaps is a bit of good news, Barton's ligaments remained intact and it appears that the fracture is the only injury. Barton tore ligaments in his right elbow when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals organization and had surgery on that elbow at the time, precipitating his move from behind the plate to first base.

The injury is the latest in a long line that have hit the A's organization this season, starting with the season-ending elbow injury to top prospect Javier Herrera in spring training.

"It's a big blow for us [losing Barton] because he's obviously a big bat for us," DeFrancesco said.

"It's also tough for him because he's at the stage where he needs five or six hundred at-bats to see if he can play at this level and he needs to be out there playing defense. It's definitely a set-back."

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