Even with all-California League outfielder Kyle Parker in the lineup, the Modesto Nuts have been hard-pressed to beat San Jose this season, going 10-16 against the Giants.
But now that Parker is out with a strained thumb ligament for the best-of-three set that starts tonight at San Jose Municipal Stadium, the Nuts will have to find offense from other sources just to have a chance to advance to the second round.
Parker was placed on the temporary inactive list following Friday night’s win at San Jose that clinched the second-half title for Modesto. The team’s statement at that time was that Parker was placed on the list simply for rest.
Late Tuesday afternoon, manager Lenn Sakata confirmed Parker’s thumb injury.
“It happened on a swing that first night in San Jose,” Sakata said. “It’s day-to-day but it’s not getting any better. “We can’t risk any further injury so it’s been decided that he’ll sit out the first round and we’ll decide where he’s at after that.”
Parker hit .308 with 23 homers and 73 RBI after missing six weeks at the start of the season with a broken hand. In the second half, he hit .326 with 19 homers and 59 RBI and clearly was the most dangerous hitter in the Nuts’ lineup, if not the entire league.
“I was just saying the other day that he’s the one guy we couldn’t afford to not have in the lineup,” Sakata said. “I guess that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. We’ll just have to play better, and all the other guys will have to step up. It’s very unfortunate.”
The Nuts will not be adding a position player to fill Parker’s spot. Roberto Padilla, a pitcher added to the roster to start Monday’s season finale, will remain active.
The California League allows rosters to be altered between playoff series. So if the Nuts prevail against San Jose and Parker is deemed healthy, he could be activated for the best-of-five North Division championship series that starts Saturday in Bakersfield.