PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks have relied heavily on their outfield depth so far this season, and they did so again Saturday when Jason Kubel was forced onto the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps.
Cody Ross was activated to replace Kubel in time for the game against the Dodgers on Saturday after an MRI earlier in the day showed the strain. Kubel first felt the injury when he scored from second base on a two-run passed ball in the D-backs’ 3-1 victory in Milwaukee on April 5. He aggravated it running the bases Friday.
“He hit a pothole when he came around third base in the grass (in Milwaukee). It really jolted him,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
The Diamondbacks open interleague play with a three-game series in New York against the Yankees on Tuesday, and they could have used Kubel as a DH, as they did in some interleague games last season.
The D-backs could use some combination of Ross, Eric Chavez, Eric Hinske and rookie Alfredo Marte at DH. Their next interleague road series is May 29-30 in Texas.
“It’s a shame for the team,” Gibson said. “We’re going to the American League, so it would be important to have him. Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it. The guys who have filled in have been great. They’re qualified. We’ll go to battle with the 25 guys we can go with.”
Kubel started three games after the injury, and he singled to center field as a pinch hitter off Clayton Kershaw on Friday night. He felt the quad act up as he ran to second base on A.J. Pollock’s bunt single.
“It’s been getting better. He played with it when it was the worst. Last night it just got a little sorer than normal. He felt it a lot when he ran hard,” Gibson said.
Ross has been out five weeks with a left calf strain suffered the first week of March. He played his first rehab game at Triple-A Reno on Friday night and had a double.
“Cody is ready to go,” Gibson said.
Marte, hitting .235, made his fourth straight start Saturday against a left-handed pitcher when the Dodgers started Korean rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Gibson gave no indication as to how he would use his outfielders moving forward, but there are plenty of options. Gerardo Parra won a Gold Glove in left field in 2011 and can play all three spots, as can Pollock and Ross. With his range, Pollock appears to be the best option in center.
Nominal starting center fielder Adam Eaton remains on the disabled list with a strained left elbow. He has is not expected to return until mid-May at the earliest.