Wes Timmons fractured a bone in his left thumb trying to make a tag in the third inning Monday against Norfolk, but played the rest of the game. That pretty much sums up the gritty Gwinnett Braves infielder, who is the ultimate gamer and team player.
Timmons, who turned 30 on July 12, has reached base in an International League-best 40 consecutive games while raising his average to .291, but his eighth minor league season is on hold after having to go on the disabled list.
For the latest installment of "Getting to Know ..." staff correspondent Guy Curtright talked with Timmons about the injury, playing in the AAA All-Star Game, his career, his family and his faith.
GC: Everything was going so well, then this injury. It must be really tough to take.
WT: God has a plan and as a believer I feel that everything happens for the good. I have to fall back on my faith and hope for the best. It is just another challenge. The Good Lord has a plan for me, one way or the other.
GC: When will you know more about how long you'll be out of the lineup?
WT: After the swelling goes down, I'll try to see if I can find a way to swing a bat without too much pain. If I can't, they'll have put a cast on for four weeks. That would take most of the rest of the season. I'm staying positive. It's a waiting game right now.
GC: How bad did you think the injury was when it first happened?
WT: I knew it hurt. It hurt a lot. I snuck out two walks afterwards, but if I had to do it over again I would have come out. Trying to deal with the pain wasn't as cool as I thought it would be.
GC: You play so hard, I guess that there is no way to avoid getting hurt. How many major injuries have you had?
WT: I broke my foot last season and broke this same thumb in 2006.
GC: You set the Richmond Braves record by being hit by pitches 19 times in 2007, so some of the pain you inflict on yourself. How hard do you try to get out of the way?
WT: I've never been the world's greatest hitter. My job is to get on base any way that I can.
GC: You have drawn 50 walks and your .435 on-base percentage leads the International League. You already had a single before you hurt your thumb, so your on-base streak was still alive.
WT: That's been amazing. You don't really think about something like that. It's been a good ride.
GC: When Brooks Conrad was promoted to Atlanta, you were named to replace him in the AAA All-Star Game. After so many seasons in the minors, it must have been nice to be recognized as an all-star for the first time?
WT: It was a blessing, but I don't think anyone plays minor league baseball to make an all-star team. You put on the jersey to win games for your team and hopefully get to the next level.
GC: You drew a walk and swiped a base in an International League win, but how was the total experience of the All-Star Game?
WT: I'd never been to Portland before and Oregon was beautiful this time of year. I took my family with me and we spent a day at the zoo, so we got a glimpse of the rose gardens as well. Then my wife and kids got to go on a tour of a gorge and waterfall the day we had a workout. They had a great time.
GC: Your wife is a teacher in your hometown of Jacksonville and your two children are small. It must be difficult to be away from them part of the season.
WT: It definitely is. But they are here for the summer, which is great. Playing baseball isn't easy on families, especially with money so tight in the minors.
GC: Where are you and your family staying?
WT: Luckily for us, Jonathan Schuerholz has a spare bedroom at his townhouse in Atlanta. He is the Braves' roaming infield instructor now, but he was my roommate and teammate for five years. You can't beat that free-rent thing.
GC: You were also a teammate and close friend of Braves catcher Brian McCann coming up in the minors. What is that relationship like now, with McCann an all-star and you still in the minors?
WT: He's a great dude and hasn't changed a bit. He probably calls me more than I want him to sometimes. It's easier to talk to a four-time all-star when you are doing well in the minors then when you're not. Some people forget about the smaller guys, but McCann isn't one of those guys. He's as down to earth as anyone I've ever met.
GC: You've mentioned your faith. Does the team have regular church services?
WT: Baseball Chapel has an outside leader for every club and we have a quick sermon each week whether we are at home or on the road. It's nice. We have a good Christian base here. It's pretty cool to be held accountable on and off the field. It helps keep you in check.
GC: When the team is at home, do you have a chance to take your family to church?
WT: It's hectic, but I try to get our family to church over here at Twelve Stone. We've really grown fond of that church. It's a great place.
GC: You were drafted by the Braves in the 12th round in 2002 as a third baseman, but have played almost everywhere. Do you have a favorite position?
WT: Not really. I can't throw like Van Pope, so second base probably fits my arm better than third.
GC: When you play first base, you have to catch Pope's rocket throws. What is the story with your first baseman's glove?
WT: It has had to be stitched up a couple of times. I got it from Carlos Mendez, who is now a coach in the organization. I think it once belonged to Jim Thome before he became a DH. At least it has his name on it.
GC: This is your eighth season and you've yet to get a chance in the majors. How much longer can you keep chasing the dream?
WT: I think everyone would love to play forever. There can't be a better job on this planet. But sooner or later, it has to come to an end. It will be tough to step away. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue in some role. I love this game and I always will.