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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Broken Hand Derails 'Miracle' Comeback

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodger center fielder Brett Butler, who only four days ago made his dramatic and emotional comeback from cancer, broke his left hand and is expected to be out the remainder of the season.

"It's a devastating blow to him and us," Dodger Manager Bill Russell said Tuesday night. "It looks like he'll probably miss the rest of the season."

The news of Butler's injury was emotionally devastating, ruining any giddiness of the Dodgers' 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in front of 28,237 at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers (80-64), who moved to a season-high 16 games over .500 with the victory, remain just ahead of the San Diego Padres for first place in the National League West.

Yet, on this night, it hardly mattered.

The Dodgers instead were left teary-eyed and angry. It's not fair, they kept saying.

"The guy worked so hard to get back," first baseman Eric Karros said, "and for his season to end like this is unbelievable. You feel so sorry for him. I still can't believe it."

Said Dodger third baseman Mike Blowers, also a victim of a season-ending injury: "I don't know what to think. You think of everything the man has gone through, and how hard he has worked, and for this to happen. Man, I can't explain it. You wonder though."

The injury occurred in the fourth inning when Butler tried to bunt off reliever Giovanni Carrara. Butler stepped up, and the fastball sailed into his hand, fracturing the fifth metacarpal.

He fell to the ground in pain and was led off the field. The Dodgers originally announced it was only a bruise and that he would get precautionary X-rays Wednesday morning. Yet, the swelling and pain increased, and the Dodgers decided to take him to the hospital.

"We knew it hit hard," Russell said. "The bones are brittle on the hand. When I went out there, his hand was turning blue."

Butler's hand was placed in a splint, and he will be re-examined. Yet, in all likelihood, his season, and perhaps career is over.

Butler has said all along that he likely will retire after the season, although it's now unclear whether he will change his mind after the injury.

"You hear him mention God doing a miracle here," Russell said. "There's probably some mixed emotions. He might be asking, 'Is he trying to tell me something again here?' Hopefully, he'll be sitting next to me on the bench."

Butler, who sat out four months of the season after undergoing two surgeries for cancer of the tonsils and 32 radiation treatments, will now be replaced in the lineup by the platoon of Wayne Kirby and Chad Curtis.

"We hate to lose him under these circumstances," said left fielder Todd Hollandsworth. "He's part of this team, and will always be.

"But we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We still have to go out there, work hard and try to win ballgames."

The Dodgers still lead the Padres by one game in the loss column, and they increased their lead to a season-high two games over the Montreal Expos in the wild-card race.

"We're just focusing on winning the division," Russell said. "If the numbers are there, you should have the wild card too."

Knuckleballer Tom Candiotti (9-9), with an emotional boost from right fielder Raul Mondesi, baffled the Reds. Candiotti yielded four hits and permitted only five fly balls to leave the infield. He struck out seven, including Curtis Goodwin in the eighth for his 1,500th career strikeout.