SAN DIEGO - In a surreal moment that left players on both sides shaken, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Browning fractured a bone in his left arm and collapsed. The pop of Browning's pitching arm could be heard in the press box.
"It's weird. I've heard it before," Manager Davey Johnson said after the Reds' 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres last night. "You hear a sound like that, you know something's wrong, regardless of what the ball does. Like a rifle shot, he fell right down."
Browning fell after making a pitch in the sixth inning. He fractured the humerus - the bone between the elbow and shoulder - and spent the night at Scripps Clinic so his pain could be controlled, said hospital spokeswoman Sue Pondrom. Browning was discharged this morning and was "doing very well and was in good condition," Pondrom said.
The humerus is the same bone that Dave Dravecky fractured while pitching for San Francisco in Montreal in 1989, 10 months after that bone was frozen during surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Dravecky's left arm was amputated in 1991 to stop the cancer.
The Reds said Browning, 34, sustained a fracture about 3 inches below the shoulder, where the deltoid tendon connects the bone to the shoulder muscles.
"This is a very rare injury," Reds assistant trainer Doug Spreen said. "I've never heard of one. The only thing I've ever heard of, a fracture from throwing the ball, was Dave Dravecky. That was from other things. There's no precedence, at this point. . . . It's not a disastrous thing, where you've got 10 little pieces. That may help as far as healing time."
With the bases loaded and a 0-1 count against Archi Cianfrocco, Browning made what seemed like a normal delivery. But the ball wobbled off well to the left of the plate and Browning collapsed, clutching at his arm.
He lay motionless for about five minutes while being tended to, and his eyes were closed and his mouth was open when he was carried off the field.
"I heard a snap," Cianfrocco said. "I never saw his hand come through. I never saw the ball on his hand.
"It didn't really click until I saw him on the ground and then you know something is wrong. It's a scary time. You don't want to see anybody get hurt."
-- The fan who caught Boston catcher Rich Rowland's first career homer on Sunday declined an offer for other equipment and told Rowland he could have the memento for $5,000. Rowland passed.
-- Texas Ranger pitcher Kenny Rogers apologized to Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Simon Gonzalez before yesterday's game for an incident Sunday. Rogers will be fined by the team for pushing Gonzalez out of the Ranger clubhouse. Rogers was upset about a story written by Gonzalez in Sunday's Star-Telegram.
-- Florida reliever Bryan Harvey, who had been expected to come off the 15-day disabled list tomorrow, removed himself from a rehabilitation assignment after throwing four pitches. He had soreness in his right elbow.
-- The Colorado Rockies activated pitcher Kent Bottenfield from the disabled list and optioned infielder Vinnie Castilla to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Bottenfield, a right-hander expected to be Colorado's fifth starter, has been with the Sky Sox on rehabilitation since the start of the season. He broke his left hand in spring training.
-- Gar Finnvold, a right-hander who is tied for the International League lead with five victories, was promoted by Boston and is scheduled to start today against the Milwaukee. The Red Sox placed shortstop John Valentin on the disabled list retroactive to May 4. He is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today.
-- The Philadelphia Phillies put starter Ben Rivera on the 15-day disabled list with a strained shoulder and recalled Mike Williams from Scranton-Wilkes-Barre to fill his spot.