D-backs’ Gregorius better but not cleared to play

PHOENIX — Didi Gregorius was sore and had a tinge of a headache Saturday but otherwise appeared to have come out unscathed from his scary beaning Friday night. At the same time, he has not been cleared to play and was to see the Diamondbacks’ doctor again Saturday afternoon.

“Close to normal?” he parroted a reporter’s question.

“From being hit in the head yesterday to today, I don’t think I would be close to normal right away. Probably take a couple of days, I think. I’m waiting for the doc to see what is going to happen.”

Gregorius was hit in the right temple by a 94 mph fastball from Colorado left-hander Josh Outman, and he lay in the left-handed batter’s box for several minutes before sitting up and then leaving under his own power. Outman was obviously shaken after the incident, but Gregorius said he harbored no ill will.

“No, no, no, no, no. I don’t think he did it on purpose, so everything is good, everything is fine. There was obviously no reason. I already had two strikes,” Gregorius said, flashing a smile.

Gregorius was given cognitive tests in the clubhouse and a CT scan at a local hospital Friday, and the tests showed no abnormalities, he said. He was discharged and spent the night at home.

Manager Kirk Gibson mentioned Friday that a stay on the seven-day disabled might be in order, but the D-backs made no move Saturday and may play a man short Sunday, he said.

“We’ll see how he’s doing as the day progresses. He’ll stay off the field (Saturday),” Gibson said. “They might do some things in the training room with him. It is just kind of a protocol you follow in those situations. Certainly going to err on the side of caution.”

The D-backs do not have another infielder on the 40-man roster, so adding a player is it not as easy at it might appear.
Jason Kubel is eligible to come off the disabled Monday and would be a logical candidate to replace Gregorius in the short term, but the D-backs plan to send Kubel to Class AAA Reno for rehab games Monday and Tuesday and have targeted Wednesday for his return. Kubel had three hits, including a home run, in an extended spring training game Saturday morning.

“It could change if something happened with an injury or something,” Gibson said of Kubel’s situation. “He’s kind of ready, but we’d like to send him out and kind of confirm that.”

The D-backs dealt with a similar situation to Gregorius’ when Mark Reynolds was hit in the head by a 95 mph fastball from the Nationals’ Collin Balester on Aug. 4, 2010. Reynolds played the next day but was removed in the seventh inning after striking out in his first three at-bats and then saying he did not feel right. Reynolds was not diagnosed with a concussion but ended up missing the next three games before returning. 

“That’s always really tough to see,” said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who added that the pitch that hit Gregorius was supposed to down and away. “I have a little spot for the career of every player in the league. You never want to see a guy get hit in the head. We are all very sensitive to that.

“Big arm. Just up (from the minors). It just got away from (Outman).”

Gregorius, who singled in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to seven games, could not get away from the ball.

“I don’t think you can get out of the way from a fastball straight at the head. I was not that fast,” Gregorius said. “It got me straight in the side of the head. It swelled up a little bit yesterday. A light headache. At least I didn’t lose consciousness and didn’t get knocked out, none of those things.”

Gregorius had no estimate of when he might return.

“That’s not my decision. That’s the doctor’s decision. I can’t decide what to do,” he said.

Gregorius is hitting .407 with four doubles and two home runs since being activated from the disabled list April 16.

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