PHOENIX — Willie Bloomquist has a picture of the two small bone fractures on the top of his left hand saved in his phone, a reminder of what he has to overcome. This time.
Bloomquist’s second injury of the season could keep him out another six to eight weeks, and the D-backs were stunned at the similarity of his fractures to those suffered by Aaron Hill earlier this season.
It is no consolation, but medical professionals seldom come across the small break that each suffered, let alone to teammates less than three months apart.
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“It’s incredible that it is virtually the same injury that Aaron had,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, relaying the words of team hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan. “I saw the pictures side-by-side. That doesn’t happen at all, that injury. Ever. Dr. Sheridan was saying if we get one more, we could write a case study. You just don’t see it.”
Bloomquist was hitting .292 in 22 games since joining the team June 1 after Eric Chavez was placed on the disabled list. Bloomquist missed the first two months of the season after suffering a strained oblique muscle late in spring training.
“It’s identical to Aaron’s. You couldn’t tell the two images apart,” Bloomquist said. “Right now, there is not a lot of stuff I can do with my hand. But I have to keep my legs in shape and my arm in shape so as soon as the hand is ready, the rest of my body is in playing shape.
“It’s a small little piece of bone, but it’s one you have to be careful with it.”
A tendon attaches to the bone that is broken, and when stretched, it has the effect of pulling the bone apart, making it that much more difficult to heal. Surgery is not an option at this point, Bloomquist said.
Hill missed eight weeks, and the D-backs are looking at about the same recovery time for Bloomquist, which would put him back on the field for the stretch run in September. He has another small bone chip in his left thumb that should heal more quickly.
“We just have to deal with it,” Gibson said. “It stinks. it seems like we’ve been dealing with a lot of that this year. I don’t know if it seems like it is any more” than any other team has had, “but we’ve had our share.”
The Diamondbacks had the depth to overcome Hill’s loss, and they will use it again while Bloomquist recovers. They promoted shortstop Didi Gregorius when Hill went on the disabled list on April 15, and his presence has fortified a middle infield that now has Hill back and can count on Cliff Pennington in reserve and Martin Prado in a pinch. Gregorius was hitting .286 entering Saturday’s game.
It is unlikely the D-backs will add another infielder in Bloomquist’s absence, although they have gone the last two days one position player short after adding a 13th pitcher when the bullpen worked overtime in the recent four-game series against the Mets.
Eric Hinske accepted an assignment to Class AAA Reno after being designated for assignment last week, and he could be an option, as could a fifth outfielder such as Adam Eaton, who doubled and played seven innings in center field for the second night in a row at Class A Visalia on Saturday.
And there are other options. Tony Campana played well in his two games in New York, first baseman Mike Jacobs is hitting .362 at Reno and middle infielder Chris Owings is hitting .346. Neither Jacobs nor Hinske is on the roster, but either would provide depth at first base.
The D-backs are not likely to add a 13th position player until the bullpen is fully rested, a process expedited by Tyler Skaggs’ strong start Friday. Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter