Mallex sustains left thumb fracture on HBP

Mallex sustains left thumb fracture on HBP

NEW YORK -- As the Braves celebrated a season-best fifth consecutive win and a three-game sweep that was completed with Sunday afternoon's 6-0 win over the Mets, the mood inside the clubhouse was subdued by the revelation that Mallex Smith suffered a fractured left thumb.

"I'm not disappointed, we just swept the Mets," the always upbeat Smith said. "Things happen, and things got a little messed up. I'll just rehab and come back stronger."

Smith exited Sunday's game after getting hit by Antonio Bastardo's 91-mph fastball in the seventh inning. The rookie outfielder remained in the game to run the bases, but he exited in the bottom half of the inning to undergo an X-ray that revealed the thumb fracture.

Smith on his injury

The Braves will not provide a timetable for return until Smith is evaluated by Dr. Gary Lourie on Monday in Atlanta. But there is a good chance that Smith will be sidelined through at least the All-Star break and possibly a significant portion of July.

"It squared me up pretty good," Smith said. "My thumb was between the bat and the ball, so it hurt a good amount."

Since recording just six hits through the first 44 at-bats of his career, Smith has hit .272 and compiled a .338 on-base percentage over the 141 plate appearances that have followed. The energetic rookie has recorded a team-high 14 stolen bases and shown great improvement while manning left and center field. He was moved back to the leadoff spot in Atlanta's batting order earlier this week.

"He's been playing really good," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I really liked where he's been in the lineup. This is part of it. Those things happen. I hate it for him. The kid likes to play and he's progressing and doing well. It's just one of those freak things, but it happens all the time. He'll be alright. He'll heal and get back and be fine."

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.