D-backs put McDonald on DL, activate Blum

PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks placed reserve infielder John McDonald on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a strained left oblique and activated fellow bench infielder Geoff Blum for the 60-day DL. Blum had been sidelined since April 18 with the same injury.

“We’re being conservative about (McDonald),” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “Realistically it could be as quick as a week.”

McDonald’s DL stint is retroactive to June 25 because he has not played since June 24. He was in the lineup Saturday at Milwaukee but was scratched after telling Gibson he couldn’t play. McDonald could be activated as soon as the Diamondbacks’ first game after the All-Star Break, on July 13 in Chicago.

Blum, 39, finished a 12-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno on Saturday. He hit .237 (9-for-38) with three doubles, a home run and eight RBI. He previously appeared in 11 games for the D-backs this season.

McDonald’s was not the only injury news of the day as the D-backs opened a seven-game homestand against the Padres. Starting pitcher Joe Saunders, on the DL since June 23 (retroactive to June 17) with shoulder inflammation, will throw live batting practice at Chase Field on Tuesday. The D-backs will then re-evaluate his status after seeing how he responds.

Saunders said Monday he feels ready to go now and would prefer not to go on a rehab assignment, but Gibson says the team will be overly cautious.

“We’re looking long term,” Gibson said. “We want to make sure that this isn’t a recurring thing. He came out of a start just prior to the game. I understand what he wants to do, and that’s the normal. These guys want to get back and do what they’re here to do. We want to make sure he’s fully recovered.”

Daniel Hudson, who left his start Tuesday with elbow tightness and learned the following day he’d torn his ulner collarteral ligament completely, has scheduled his Tommy John surgery with Dr. Lewis Yocum for next Monday in Anaheim.

Rookie starter Trevor Bauer, who was called up when Hudson went down, said his strained groin should not affect his scheduled start Tuesday. The injury has nagged Bauer intermittently this season and contributed to an early exit from his major league debut in Atlanta last Thursday.

In bullpen news, Gibson was asked as left his daily media briefing how reliever Takashi Saito was feeling. Saito has been on the disabled list with a strained calf since the end of spring training.

“Saito is not feeling good,” Gibson said, sharing only that Saito said his shoulder hurt following his last bullpen session. It’s unclear when that throwing session occurred. Saito had been shut down for at least a week with a virus.
Lastly, left fielder Jason Kubel was out of the starting lineup Monday, but Gibson said it was not because of the ball fouled off his knee Sunday. Gibson said Kubel is “fully available for all activity” Monday.

“I was already going to give him a day off,” Gibson said. “He’s been going so good for us he needs a day off. So he was going to get a day off anyway, but he tweaked that a little bit yesterday.”