Angel right fielder Tim Salmon, the leading candidate for American League rookie of the year, learned Thursday that he will need surgery next week on his broken left ring finger.
Norman Zemel, a hand and wrist specialist who examined Salmon, said surgery is necessary to remove a chip from the first knuckle.
Salmon, the ninth Angel player to suffer a season-ending injury, broke the finger in the fifth inning Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners while trying to catch Larry Sheets' sinking line drive.
"I should have probably let it bounce," Salmon said. "But I've been aggressive all season. It was a freak thing. But it's better that it happened now than 10 games into the season.
"It would have been nice to finish the season, but it's been a tremendous season for me."
Salmon, who also hit a grand slam Wednesday, finished the year with a .283 batting average, 31 homers, 95 runs batted in and 93 runs.
"He's by far and away the best first-year player I've seen in quite a while," said one veteran American League scout. "He's much better than Pat Listach (last year's top rookie with the Milwaukee Brewers).
"This isn't going to be a Wally Joyner, where he has just one year where he hits homers. This kid is going to get better and better. I'm not saying he'll be as good as (Texas Ranger outfielder Juan) Gonzalez, but believe me, he'll be a good one."