- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO | Lastings Milledge’s attempted road back to the big leagues just got a bit longer and more difficult.

Milledge, currently playing for Class AAA Syracuse, broke his right ring finger while trying to bunt during Monday’s game against Indianapolis and will be placed on the disabled list.

Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo, who sent the slumping outfielder to the minors April 14 after a dismal start to the season, said the club won’t know how serious the injury is until Milledge is examined Tuesday by a hand specialist in Baltimore.

“Do they need to put a pin in it? Does he need surgery? That will all dictate how long he’s out for,” Rizzo said. “But he’s going to be out. He’ll go on the DL for sure.”

Milledge was hitting .253 with no homers and four RBI in 22 games since his demotion, though team officials said he had been showing signs of progress in the past week or so. The 24-year-old, who was stunned by the Nationals’ decision to option him to the minors only seven games into the season, was hoping to make it back to the majors in short order.

“At the early stage of his career, whenever you miss a chunk of at-bats, it retards your progress a little bit,” Rizzo said. “He had things to work on. He was just starting to come around swinging the bat a little bit.”

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