Baseball history is flooded with tales of bizarre injuries, from dangerous flying drones, to falling asleep in a tanning bed, to rushing into the family room to watch former major-league first baseman Bill Buckner hit. Yes, George Brett did that on an off day in 1983 and somehow broke his toe on the door jam.
But on the first day of spring training, the Royals revealed a strong contender for the strangest baseball injury of 2017.
Days before he departed for camp, reliever Brian Flynn crashed through the roof of a barn at his home in McAlester, Okla., breaking a rib and sustaining three non-displaced fractures in his vertebrae, Royals manager Ned Yost said on Tuesday. Flynn, a 26-year-old left-hander, is slated to miss close to eight weeks. He entered camp hoping to compete for a spot in a revamped Royals’ bullpen, but the injury stands as a significant setback.
“He was working on his barn and fell through the roof,” Yost said. “So he took a pretty good tumble, knocked himself out. So he’s going to be about eight weeks behind everybody else.”
The revelation came at the end of Yost’s interview session with reporters following the first official workout of the spring. Flynn did not take part in the workout, though he appeared in good spirits earlier in the morning, walking through the clubhouse and sitting in front of his locker.
Flynn was not available to discuss the injury on Tuesday afternoon. But in an earlier conversation with a Star reporter, he did not offer any signs of discomfort. He talked positively about his offseason, discussing his recent marriage and move to McAlester.
A Tulsa native and former standout at Wichita State, Flynn posted a 2.60 ERA in 55 1/3 innings across 36 appearances in 2016. It was his first season in the major leagues since being acquired from the Marlins in a trade that sent right-hander Aaron Crow to Miami before the 2015 season. The performance last year came on the heels of an injury-plagued 2015. Flynn began that season at Class AAA Omaha after a strong spring training but missed the rest of the year after injuring his latissimus dorsi muscle during his first outing with the Storm Chasers.
Now Flynn must confront another injury, a freak instance that will join the long list of baseball aches and pains. Among the truly weird: Last October, Indians starter Trevor Bauer mangled a finger while cleaning his flying drone. In 2006, Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya strained his wrist while playing the video game “Guitar Hero.” And once, former Royals reliever Jeremy Affeldt sliced open his hand while trying to separate frozen hamburger patties during a barbecue.