Jeff Tackett picked an interesting time to fall off a bicycle.
The Orioles reserve catcher suffered a broken left collarbone in a weekend accident one block from his Cockeysville residence. The mishap occurred less than 48 hours before major-league clubs had to submit 15-player protected lists for the Nov. 17 National League expansion draft.
Tackett is believed to be one of the players the Orioles left unprotected for the initial round -- but his injury was not a factor. He will wear a brace for four to six weeks, but should be fully recovered before the start of spring training.
"I was going down a hill one block from my house, and there was a hole that I didn't see -- it was covered with leaves," said Tackett. "I went right over the handle bars.
"As soon as I hit it [the hole], I knew I was going [to fall]," said Tackett, whose quick reactions might have prevented a more serious injury. "It was like it happened in slow motion, and all I could do was try to turn myself while I was in the air so I didn't land on my right side."
Tackett was not wearing a helmet, but said, "I almost always do."
Tackett was successful in avoiding any damage to his throwing arm, but, in the process, his left shoulder took the full impact. "He was kind of dejected when I first talked to him Saturday night," said Orioles general manager Roland Hemond. "But at least he should be ready by the early spring."
Whether Tackett's tumble will have any effect on the selections by the Colorado Rockies or Florida Marlins isn't certain. But, based on the medical reports that both teams would have available to them, it's unlikely that the injury would be considered serious enough to jeopardize Tackett's performance.
"I'll be in the brace for the next four to six weeks, and they'll apply some deep heat therapy to speed up the process," said Tackett. "But surgery won't be necessary."
Tackett was treated in the emergency room at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and also was examined by Dr. Charles Silberstein, the club's orthopedic specialist.
"The worst part is that I'm going to be so bored," said Tackett. "I like to be doing things, so just sitting around will be the toughest part. It could have been worse -- it could have happened two months from now, or I could've landed on my right shoulder.
"I'm just going to look forward to getting better and spring training."
Like a lot of major-leaguers, Tackett also will be looking forward to finding out where he will go to spring training. He admits to a degree of uncertainty about next week's draft.
"Anybody would be lying if he said he didn't want the chance to play every day," said Tackett, who hit .240 in 66 games last season. He was the Orioles' regular catcher for almost two months after Chris Hoiles was sidelined June 21 with a fractured wrist.
"But I do have some mixed emotions about it, because I really like this organization and I love playing here. It's just one of those things. I have no idea what's going on, only the speculation you read in the paper.
"I'll be watching ESPN [which will televise the draft a week from today] and be just as anxious as anybody to see what happens," said Tackett.