From Way More

And I thought Hockey was bad . At least they go after guys on the OTHER team............

Mystery of damaged digit grows
Who stomped on the hand of Twins' Hocking
Geoff Baker

MINNEAPOLIS Solving the mystery of their opponent's feared pitching staff was a tough enough challenge for the Minnesota Twins.

But doing away with the Oakland A's wasn't nearly as difficult as unravelling the details behind the mysterious finger injury suffered by Twins utility infielder Denny Hocking. The latter mystery is causing far more damage than the A's did, since Hocking is now lost for the entire American League Championship Series with the Anaheim Angels.

All that is known is that somebody stepped on the middle finger of Hocking's right hand during on-field celebrations after the series clinching win by Minnesota in Oakland on Sunday. Hocking arrived at the Metrodome yesterday with a splint on his stitched-up finger, his nail split in two pieces, and a solemn look on his face.

"Just when you think everything is going your way, this game brings you back to reality," said Hocking, a seven-year veteran who had gone 2for4 with an RBI single on Sunday and caught a pop-up for the game's final out.

Hocking had only a few moments of elation after reaching his first career ALCS. He was soon mobbed by teammates on the field and one of them was the culprit with the spiked shoes.

This is where the mystery begins.

Hocking said initially that he knew who had stepped on his hand. But Hocking said the person "is someone I'm feuding with, that's why I won't name him."

That changed yesterday when Hocking said he suspected the teammate in question was leadoff hitter Jacque Jones. The revelation brought reporters rushing over to a sheepish-looking Jones, who at first denied involvement.

"If Denny says I stepped on his hand, I stepped on his hand," Jones finally said without much conviction.

But if the two weren't feuding before, they might be now as Hocking sits on the sidelines and Jones publicly shoulders the blame as a finger-stomper.

The remaining Twins yesterday tried to shift focus away from their two players and on to their stadium, known as the loudest in baseball when full. A crowd of well over 50,000 is expected tonight and many will be waving the so-called "Homer Hanky" white towels that have brought so much good fortune to a team slated for contraction at this point last year.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is worried about the impact of losing a proven veteran like Hocking.

"The sad thing for us is, not only did we lose a good player, but he's been through battles with us," Gardenhire said. "He's a very important part of this baseball team. We will miss him."

Infielder David Lamb was added to Minnesota's playoff roster yesterday in Hocking's place.