Through the first 36 games of the year, the Red Sox outfielder had collected more extra-base hits than he tallied during the 2011 season. Midway through May, Sweeney –– at one point –– was leading the Red Sox in batting average.
But injuries slowly sapped away his momentum. After suffering a concussion in May and a foot injury in June, Sweeney struggled to regain his timing at the plate and plummeted lower on the outfield depth chart.
That gradual decline, not his one at-bat in Monday’s game, prompted Sweeney to unleash his anger by punching a wall.
“It definitely wasn’t that one at-bat,” Sweeny said. “It was kind of the build-up of the last couple months and being frustrated. The season started off well, then I got the concussion thing and the foot thing and never got back on track. I don’t know, just being frustrated with the whole situation. It wasn’t just that one at-bat.”
It resulted in a fractured pinkie, an injury that will likely sideline him for the season. During Sweeney’s surgery on Tuesday, doctors also inserted a screw in his hand because the outfielder displaced a bone.
But the guilt is still gnawing at Sweeney. With the uncertainty around Carl Crawford‘s elbow and Daniel Nava‘s wrist injury, Boston’s depth in the outfield is quickly thinning.
“I haven’t slept in two days,” Sweeney said. “Even though I was on pain meds yesterday, I couldn’t sleep. I just messed up. I just came down, I’ve talked to a lot of guys, Everyone’s thrown their helmet or thrown their bat or hit something. I haven’t slept just because of the way I’ve been feeling — sick to my stomach and disgusted about what happened.”
Amid the rollercoaster week, Sweeney was also sickened by conspiracy theorists that suggested he injured himself to avoid being dealt at the trade deadline. Given the opportunity, the 27-year-old quickly silenced any speculation.
“I didn’t intentionally do it so I wouldn’t get traded or stuff like that,” Sweeney said. “That had nothing to do with it. It was bad timing, and I picked the wrong day to do it.”
He’ll have to deal with the consequences until the season ends.
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