One of the great mysteries of the 2009 season for Pawtucket was the early-season disappearance of outfielder/first baseman Zach Daeges.
Daeges with Daniel Bard (photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
Daeges batted fifth in the PawSox opening day lineup and was expected to be one of the team’s big run producers after batting .307 (.412 OBP) with 34 doubles in 2008 with Double-A Portland.
But Zach was plagued by an early season ankle injury that never got better. After going on the disabled list in late April, he was sent to Florida on rehab but never returned to action. Eventually we stopped asking for updates from PawSox manager Ron Johnson.
Well, the mystery has been solved – Daeges was born with one too many bones.
According to this story in the Providence Journal, Daeges is one of a rare few born with an extra bone behind his ankle, called the Os Trigonum. Doctors determined that Daeges knocked the bone loose during a spring training game and it pressed on a tendon causing considerable pain.
Daeges had the bone surgically removed on September 18th and is expected to be fully recovered in time for spring training.
Zach turns 26 in November, so the lost season makes him a bit older than most prospects going into their first full season in Triple-A. But Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen says Daeges can make up for lost time.
“As a college kid that had already done what he needed to do at Double-A, it was going to be now, at Triple-A, about getting the at-bats, and getting ready to be a major league protection player,” Hazen told the Providence Journal.
“He already was [ready], now it’s just going to be about going out and performing, getting the opportunity. There’s not a ton, on his overall game, that he needs to develop. Obviously there’s some work that needs to be done, mostly defensively, but from an approach standpoint, power development standpoint, he has those things. He just needs more at-bats. The thing that he lost was the at-bats,” Hazen said.
It’s good to know the mystery has been solved . . . and good to know that the PawSox figure to have Daeges in the lineup in 2010.