Pro baseball

RailCats hope to kick injury bug as quarter season approaches

2013-06-08T21:00:00Z 2013-06-09T01:42:05Z RailCats hope to kick injury bug as quarter season approachesHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

GARY | RailCats manager Greg Tagert won't complain about his team taking a hit by the injury bug.

When Adam Klein called in sick Saturday morning, that was the clincher to what the RailCats have experienced in the training room for the last week.

Officially out of the lineup were catcher Ryan Babineau (groin), relief pitcher Estevan Uriegas (elbow) and starter Stephen Hiscock (shoulder). Hiscock went on the inactive list Saturday morning as the team picked up reliever James Adkins, a former first-round draft pick by the L.A. Dodgers.

After a check-up today, Uriegas could be headed to the inactive list, which in the American Association means a month off the roster.

To counter the loss of Babineau, the RailCats picked up catcher Tyler Smith on June 4, and Smith made his debut with the team Saturday. Smith had three RBIs for the RailCats in their loss to Sioux Falls.

Adkins entered in the eighth inning

If Uriegas is sent to the inactive list, the RailCats will most likely bring in another outfielder, Tagert said, to give the team another roving option.

"One of the things we've had concern with is that Cristian (Guerrero) is really limited to right field," Tagert said. "When we let go of Aljay Davis, we were losing a part of the club that gave us a little extra depth. Now that we've got the pitching staff ... the balance is better for our club. We need someone else in there, a right-handed hitting outfielder, we're going to try to bring in here the next couple days."

Guerrero hit his first home run at U.S. Steel Yard on Friday in a RailCats loss. He has played five games in right field and 17 as the designated hitter.

Morgan Coombs, a reliever who started twice in the rotation spot previously held by Hiscock, will continue to start.

"Morgan will keep that spot in the rotation at least one time or two times more," Tagert said. "From there we'll make a decision."

Babineau is expected to return next week, but not before the end of the homestand which concludes Wednesday, Tagert said.

In the meantime, the RailCats used the versatility of first baseman Steve Liddle and put the college outfielder in left field Saturday. Utility infielder Danny Pulfer played first base, while Craig Maddox, a catcher who has played at first this season, was given the day off.

Without Klein or Maddox in the lineup, the RailCats run out of left-handed hitters, leaving just Mike Massaro, Liddle and center fielder Drew Martinez.

"We'd decided a couple days ago this would be a night that we'd give (Maddox) off," Tagert said. "Chase Tucker, we were going to give him the night off also, but Maddox deserves it, too. (Maddox) gives us someone late in the game if we need it, too."

Maddox pinch hit for the RailCats in the ninth inning.

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