The ripples from Jerry Hairston's season-ending ankle injury spread across the Baltimore Orioles' organization on Wednesday, with veteran David Segui's expected return put on hold and top outfield prospect Val Majeski unexpectedly called up from Class AA Bowie.
Hairston, the Orioles' second baseman-cum-center fielder, received the grim news Wednesday, when a CT scan on his left ankle confirmed what X-rays had shown the previous night: that the ankle had been fractured when he landed on it awkwardly after crashing into the center field wall Tuesday night.
"I was really starting to have fun playing center field," said Hairston, who was moved there in early August after spending most of the previous three seasons as the starting second baseman. "I feel frustrated."
Hairston, who was hitting .303 this season, will be on crutches for several days and will wear a protective boot for another month, but will avoid surgery. It was his third major injury in the last two seasons.
"It's a big blow," Manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He's our center fielder."
With Hairston out, the Orioles felt they could no longer keep outfielder Larry Bigbie on the active roster, since he was expected to be out as much as another week with a strained groin. They also felt they could not afford to activate Segui (knee inflammation), since they were unsure he could play back-to-back games.
"We need guys who can play," Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jim Beattie said.
To that end, the team placed Bigbie on the disabled list and left Segui on it. To fill the spots of Hairston and Bigbie, the team brought up center fielder Darnell McDonald from Class AAA Ottawa for a third tour of duty in the majors this season and -- more significant -- purchased the contract of Majeski, a 23-year-old corner outfielder who was rated the organization's No. 4 prospect by Baseball America this spring.
McDonald started in center field for the Orioles on Wednesday night, while Majeski, who was hitting .307 with 15 homers and 79 RBI for the Baysox, was due to arrive during the game.
Hairston, who bristled at times this season over the loss of his second base job, on Wednesday expressed a willingness to continue in center field next season, though team officials declined to speculate that far ahead. In addition to Hairston, injured incumbent Luis Matos (lower leg surgery) will be ready by spring training, and the team could pursue free agent star Carlos Beltran this winter.