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D-backs catcher Oscar Hernandez needs surgery for broken hamate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Wednesday that catcher Oscar Hernandez has suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand.

Hernandez, 21, will undergo surgery Thursday.

“It’s too bad,” D-backs manager Chip Hale told the media Wednesday.

Hernandez was removed midway through Tuesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics with what the D-backs referred to then as left wrist discomfort.

“You could tell something was wrong when he went out to catch,” Hale said of the diagnosis Tuesday.

The hamate lies at the base of the hand, near the wrist. Recovery time following surgery can be as little as three weeks and some players have played through the injury for as long as two months. The injury was more prevalent years ago, according to Hale.

The injury undoubtedly complicates things for the D-backs, who acquired Hernandez from the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule 5 Draft in December, forcing them to keep him on the 25-man roster — or disabled list — for all of 2015. Alternatively, the Rule 5 draftee could be offered back to his original team for $50,000.

Hernandez seemed to be in line as Tuffy Gosewich’s backup behind the plate, but the injury likely opens the door for the likes of Gerald Laird, Peter O’ Brien and Blake Lalli to take the spot.

“It will change things, of course,” Hale explained Wednesday, adding that it was too early in spring training to determine a mode of action.

“We have to decide by the time spring training is over whether we’re going to keep him. Once he gets active, he has to be on our 25 — that’s the deal.”

The D-backs’ usual process with a Rule 5 draftee would consist of close evaluation during spring training, as they decide whether to commit a major league spot to a player with whom they’re unfamiliar. That process is certainly much more blind due to the injury, while the matter of post-recovery adjustment could further cloud the outlook.

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