In a scary situaton involving one of the most talented teams in the Minors, Tennessee Smokies outfielders and Cubs prospects Albert Almora and Bijan Rademacher collided in the outfield Wednesday afternoon and had to be taken out of the game, a 6-4 win by visiting Jackson.
The incident occured in the sixth inning when Generals second baseman Zach Shank hit a ball toward the gap in left-center. Almora (the center fielder) and Rademacher (the left fielder) both closed in on the ball before banging directly into one another. Both remained down and had to be tended to by both Jackson and Tennessee trainers, causing an eight-minute delay in play. They both left the field under their own power.
After the game, Smokies manager Buddy Bailey said the outfield pair will miss some time and did not give their exact injuries but sounded cautiously optimistic about the chances for a quick return.
"We'll know a lot more tomorrow," Bailey said. "It's nothing that looks like it's broken or that. It's just going to be trying to get the soreness out of the muscles, the body tightness and all that stuff. ... Hopefully in two or three days, we'll be able to get one of them, if not both of them, back. But we'll know a lot more tomorrow when the training people check them out."
Both players are ranked in the Cubs' farm system by MLB.com, with Almora checking in at No. 5 and Rademacher at No. 29. Almora, MLB.com's No. 53 overall prospect, has earned praise for his defense since being taken sixth overall back in 2012, and it's his glove that's considered his best tool. The 21-year-old has a .276/.315/.353 line at the plate in his first 30 games this season.
Comparatively, Rademacher has had his share of problems in the outfield before. In 2014, he led the Florida State League in outfield errors with 11, and although he has a 60-grade arm per MLB.com, his fielding and range are much more average. The 23-year-old, left-handed hitter has a .227/.328/.328 line in 35 games with the Smokies.
Right fielder and defending Southern League Player of the Week Jabari Blash homered twice for the Generals in their win Wednesday. The 25-year-old slugger has six homers in 15 games since rejoining Jackson on May 2.
Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.