SAN FRANCISCO – The future is highly uncertain for outfielder Gustavo Cabrera, the Giants’ prized signee from last year’s international free-agent class, after he sustained a horrific right wrist injury in the Dominican Republic.
Baseball America’s Ben Badler broke the story and saw pictures of the injury, which he described as “gruesome” and “graphic.”
“Cabrera appeared to nearly lose his right hand,” Badler wrote.
Badler quoted sources who claimed Cabrera sustained the injury Oct. 22 when he slipped and fell at his home in La Romana, cutting his wrist on either a glass table or window. He flew to the Giants’ camp in Arizona the following day and had surgery in San Francisco.
Giants farm director Fred Stanley confirmed Cabrera’s injury, saying he heard the 17-year-old outfielder put his hand through a window. But Stanley also said it was his understanding that Cabrera likely would be able to play in 2014, and the injury would not threaten his career.
“He wasn’t going to Augusta anyway,” Stanley said of the 17-year-old center fielder. “He was going to the Arizona League and that doesn’t start till June. So he’s got eight months. I’m betting he’ll be 100 percent by that time.”
The Giants haven’t bet well when it comes to seven-figure signings out of the Dominican. They gave $2.1 million to Angel Villalona in 2006; his professional career was put on hold for two years after he was charged with murder in La Romana. Another high-profile signee, outfielder Rafael Rodriguez, received $2.55 million in 2009 and is now considered a non-prospect after hitting a combined .241 in four seasons at Low-A ball or below.
The Giants’ other high-profile signee along with Cabrera last year, third baseman Natanael Javier, was suspended 50 games in September after testing positive for Stanozolol – a hard-core anabolic steroid. He signed for $475,000 last year and will serve his suspension next season.
Cabrera was considered the premier athlete of the signing period, and although he hit just .247 with two home runs in 54 games for the Giants’ club in the Dominican Summer League, he has projectable power and all the tools to be a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder.
“He’s one of those four-tool guys,” Stanley said “He’s got a lot of things going for him for a young man.”