The TinCaps announced, prior to tonight's 4-3 loss to the Great Lakes Loons, that they had placed catcher Adam Kerner on the 7-day Injured List. It's likely he's going on the IL for the shoulder issue that made him a late scratch from the lineup Saturday against the Dayton Dragons and forced emergency catcher Zack Mathis to suit up behind the plate for the first time as a pro.
"His shoulder's been bothering him a little bit," acting manager Jonathan Mathews said of Kerner on Saturday. "He went out and tried to play catch and could not."
Kerner has been the starting catcher for most of the second half of the season after being the backup through the first half behind Jonny Homza, who has dealt with his own shoulder issue down the final stretch of the season. Kerner has thrown out 26 runners on the 100 stolen-base attempts he has faced this season, among the league leaders in total putouts and percentage in his first pro campaign.
At the plate, Kerner has made strides late in the season, posting a passable .645 OPS since Aug. 1 after a difficult start. He hit his lone home run of the campaign on Aug. 13 and has driven in 19 runs overall.
Kerner's trip to the IL clears the way for recent call-up Brandon Valenzuela, the No. 9 prospect in the San Diego farm system and the top hitting catcher at Low-A Lake Elsinore before his call-up, to get the great majority of the time behind the plate in the final weeks of the season (depending on how long Kerner is on the shelf). Valenzuela hit .307 with a .389 OBP with the Storm and has reached base four times (three walks and an RBI single) in his first two games with the TinCaps. Fort Wayne might be sent a backup catcher in the coming days to spell Valenzuela every once in a while, unless Homza is feeling up to getting behind the plate again.