White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera motioned with both hands as he talked in the home dugout Tuesday, his right index finger encased in a tan compression sleeve.
Tepera, one of the team’s most consistent relievers at the back end of the bullpen, landed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a cut on his finger. In a corresponding move, the White Sox recalled left-hander Jace Fry from Triple-A Charlotte.
"Obviously it's one of the important fingers,” Tepera said. “We'll see what happens in the next couple days. Hopefully I can play catch – maybe wrap it up and still play catch, try to keep my arm in shape. So that's the main thing I'm worried about right now."
As for how long the injury could affect the right-hander, that remains to be seen. The White Sox backdated the IL move to Saturday, so Tepera will be eligible to return in a week.
Tepera said he and the White Sox medical staff hope the cut itself will heal in five to seven days. Tepera doesn’t expect the cut, once healed, to leave behind any numbness or sensitivity. But if it does affect Tepera’s feel pitching, injury implications could linger.
“I'm going to take it very carefully,” Tepera said of his recovery, “and the priority is going to be, get back for the playoffs."
Adding metaphorical insult to literal injury was the way Tepera cut his finger. Walking in his apartment Monday night, Tepera said, he held the door frame as he turned the corner. The metal strike plate sliced his finger.
“It's probably about a centimeter big, a little bit deep” Tepera said of the cut. “It's a little sensitive right now."
As soon as Tepera felt the pain in his finger, his mind went to pitching. Would he miss the rest of the season? The playoffs?
“The worst thing goes through your head,” he said. “But talking to the trainers and looking at it today, it's not as bad as I originally thought.”
Tepera said he didn’t need stitches. Seri-strips hold down the “skin flap.”
"We're going to take it day by day, let it heal for a couple days,” he said. “I'll probably do some stuff on the trampoline with weighted balls, just keeping the shoulder maintenance going. Then wrap it up and possibly play light catch and just kind of go from there."