Knuckles Malone, the top slotted starter for the Toronto Nomads, was injured while pitching in the season opener against the New York Dragons today, and will likely be out of the rotation for a week.
Malone, a 2015 Rookie of the Year, spent over half the season last year on the Disabled List after tearing his meniscus. Today, club doctors say he just has an ankle sprain, and is expected to return shortly. The team has not placed him on the 14-day DL.
Malone faced just four batters before leaving the game after the first inning. In the opening frame, he struck out NY leadoff hitter Tony Cruz before Jose Espinoza flew out to shortstop Bradford Seymour. Malone then walked a patient Setsuo Kimura, setting the table for Pedro Rosario to fly out to deep center, stranding Kimura.
Toronto’s bullpen gave a solid effort to try to squeeze out a win, but were hampered by silent bats through the Nomads lineup which could only muster up 3 hits against NY starter Javier Kleijer. Toronto lefty Charlie Foote got into trouble early in the top of the 8th, when Espinoza singled up the middle, then stole second on a 3-2 pitch to Kimura which struck him out.
With an open base at first, and a runner in scoring position, Foote elected to walk Rosario, but in the next at bat C Adam Hippensteel drove a rocket to deep center, doubling himself and scoring Espinoza from second base. Foote recovered and got the next two batters out, but the Nomads were unable to answer the Dragons late inning run.
Toronto continues their four-game opening series at home against New York with game two tomorrow.