The Atlanta Braves came into the 2021 season with lofty expectations after a run to the NLCS a year ago, where they came up just short of a World Series trip in a seven-game loss to the eventual champion L.A. Dodgers. Through a quarter of the season, things haven’t gone according to plan in Atlanta, as they’ve scuffled out to a 19-21 start, which is third in the NL East (albeit just two games back of the Mets) and 10th in the National League.
There’s plenty of time for the Braves to turn things around, but injuries keep piling up, particularly to their pitching staff. Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint are both on the DL with an Achilles and shoulder injury, respectively, and one of the few bright spots on the early season, Huascar Ynoa, is headed to the 60-day DL himself with a broken hand. Ynoa was 4-2 on the season with a 3.02 ERA, 1.052 WHIP, and 10.1 K/9, providing the Braves with some much needed quality starting pitching, and is also hitting .353 on the season with two home runs and 6 RBI.
So, how did he manage to break his hand, you might ask? Well, here’s Braves manager Brian Snitker explaining what happened.
Braves starter Huascar Ynoa fractured his right hand yesterday after punching a dugout bench in frustration. He's out indefinitely.
The 22-year-old right-hander owns a 3.02 ERA through 44.2 innings pitched this season. pic.twitter.com/szJqma9HO4
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) May 17, 2021
Yes, Huascar couldn’t help but load up and punch the bench in frustration, breaking his hand and putting him on the shelf for “a couple months,” per Snitker. As the manager says, no one feels worse about it than Ynoa, which is surely true, but that doesn’t really help anyone right now.
One day professional athletes (and, really, guys in general) will learn to stop punching things made of wood, concrete, metal, hard plastic, etc., but sadly that day is not today. Dugout tirades are a time-honored tradition in baseball, as guys are allowed to throw things and bash things with bats to get out their frustration with their teammates and coaches typically just watching from a distance until their tantrum is over.
However, if I may offer a suggestion to baseball teams everywhere, guys breaking things — bats, coolers, phones, their hands — is an unnecessary casualty of the frustrations of baseball. Every dugout should have a heavy bag hanging in the corner where guys can punch and swing their bats at a thing made for just such activities without running the risk of ruining everyone’s water, stash of sunflower seeds, or, in Ynoa’s case, putting themselves on the disabled list for a couple of months.