PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks placed shortstop Didi Gregorius on the seven-day disabled list Sunday as he continues to recuperate from a Friday night beaning. Left fielder Jason Kubel was activated from the disabled list to fill the roster.
Gregorius had not been medically cleared to play as of Sunday’s game, which was the deadline for the D-backs to use the seven-day list retroactively. Gregorius will be eligible to return Saturday.
Kubel hit third against the Rockies in his first game back from a strained right quadriceps suffered the first weekend of the season and immediately made his presence felt, throwing out a runner at the plate in the top of the first inning.
Gregorius, who was was struck in the right temple by a Josh Outman pitch Friday, has passed an initial impact test, manager Kirk Gibson said, the first stage of a return protocol for players who have suffered concussion-like symptoms.
The next step is taking a 20-question test designed to assess cognitive response, and Gregorius has not gotten through that in the last two days. When he passes that test, he will be put under exercise/light duress and given the impact test again. Only then can he be cleared to play. Mark Reynolds needed four days to recover when he was hit in the head by a pitch in 2010.
The Giants will be the early beneficiaries of Gregorius’ absence. Gregorius was 4 for 14 with three doubles when the D-backs took two of three games at AT&T Park early last week, and his hustle double in the top of the 11th inning Tuesday sparked a two-run inning in a 6-4 victory. He had two doubles in a 3-2, 10-inning victory the next day.
Outman reached out to Gregorius on Saturday, and the D-backs are certain there was no intent. Outman and D-backs bench coach Alan Trammell spoke on the field before Sunday’s game.
“It could have hit him in the face. A lot of bad things could have happened,” Gibson said. “I know Outman talked to him yesterday. We know he wasn’t trying to hit him on purpose. It’s a hazard of the game. We don’t want to see it happen again, for us or against us.”
Kubel was 3 for 4 with a home run and two singles in an extended spring training game on Saturday morning. He said he felt ready to return after that, but the D-backs’ original plan was to send him to Class AAA Reno for a couple of rehab starts. That changed when Gregorius went on the DL.
“It’s good to be back,” said Kubel, who let his quad rest for about a week before returning to normal activity.
“I got a few at-bats with the extended team. I know it’s not the same, but it still feels good. When I played (Saturday), I hit the ball hard, and that’s all I’m looking for.”
Kubel is in about the same position Gregorius was when he was reinstated from the disabled list April 16 after one minor league rehab game.
“We’ll just have to be alert. If he feels anything at all, we don’t want to push him too far, get him fatigued and re-injure it,” Gibson said.
With division games against the Giants, Padres and Dodgers the next nine days, the D-backs also did not want to play a man short as they did Saturday in a 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Rockies. Gibson was unable to make a double-switch late in that game because he was one man down.
“It (playing short) is just not good, so we just amended our plans,” Gibson said. “We’ve been in close games. We’ve been in a lot of extra-inning games. The man is pretty important.” Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter