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Cougars’ Eibner sidelined by thumb injury

Updated: May 18, 2011 9:23AM

GENEVA — Kane County Cougars outfielder Brett Eibner’s pro career couldn’t have started better when he homered in his first at-bat last Thursday at Wisconsin, but it’s taken a bit of a frustrating turn since.

Eibner, the Kansas City Royals’ second-round pick a year ago and one of the top prospects in the system, injured his left thumb the next night making a diving catch and hasn’t played since. He is seeing a doctor today to assess the damage and determine the next step.

Up until his injury, Eibner was off to a good start, going 2-for-6 with a homer, two RBI and two walks at the plate, but he will deal with a hand injury for the second straight spring. He played through a broken right hand while at the University of Arkansas last year, an injury that ended up getting him shut down for the season after the Royals drafted him.

“Hopefully (today) we will know something,” Cougars manager Vance Wilson said. “He had a couple of injuries in college that might have been misdiagnosed, and we were really careful to make sure those were taken care of. He had two really good games and having to deal with this injury on top of those has been tough on him.”

With Eiber out, Alex Llanos made his third straight start in center in Monday’s 8-3 loss to Quad Cities at Elfstrom Stadium. The Cougars will go with three outfielders (Llanos, Brian Fletcher and Geulin Beltre) until Eibner returns or a roster move is made.

Cougars notes: Fletcher, son of former big leaguer Scott, is off to a good start, having hits in each of the team’s first five games. Fletcher is hitting .333 (7-for-21) with three RBI while leading the team in runs with five and standing second in total bases (11)...Llanos is also hitting .333 from the top of the order and has hits in four straight games…Llanos was thrown out trying to steal second in the third inning, making the Cougars 0-for-6 in the base-stealing department so far this season…Infielder Ryan Stovall has played in just two games, but his four RBI lead the team…The Cougars have drawn 28 walks this season and lead the Midwest League in that category, while standing third in total bases (61) and fifth in on-base-percentage (.361).

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