D-backs’ injury bug bites Willie Bloomquist
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The injury bug bit the D-backs hard Tuesday night, as Aaron Hill, Jason Kubel and Willie Bloomquist all left the game with injuries, but it appears only one of those is significant.
The D-backs announced Wednesday an MRI revealed Bloomquist suffered a grade 2 strain of his right oblique and will start the season on the disabled list. The team put no timetable on Bloomquist’s recovery, but he will be eligible to return April 11.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s not good news, but it’s a speed bump,” Bloomquist said. “Hopefully it won’t be too long.”
Bloomquist compared the injury to one earlier in his career that cost him four weeks. He said this injury did not hurt as much as the earlier one, so he hoped to be back quicker, though rehabbing such an injury at age 35 can be trickier.
“It’s one of those things you kind of take day by day,” Bloomquist said. “An ab is something that if you don’t let it heal properly you can re-tweak it.”
With Bloomquist on the disabled list, utility infielder Josh Wilson appears the most likely candidate to take the roster spot.
Bloomquist’s injury is the latest to plague the D-backs, who last week lost center fielder Adam Eaton for six to eight weeks with a sprained left ulnar collateral ligament and will likely be without right fielder Cody Ross on Opening Day as he recovers from a calf injury.
“We seem to be bitten right now,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
The good news for the D-backs is Kubel and Hill appear to be fine. Hill, who was hit on his left pinky finger by a pitch Tuesday, was in the lineup for Wednesday’s game and went through morning workouts as usual.
Kubel was not in the lineup but did get seven at-bats in a minor league game and ran the bases without issue after leaving Tuesday’s game with left ankle discomfort. Gibson and Kubel both said they don’t expect the ankle to be much of an issue.
“It’s just a little sore,” Kubel said. “It’s something that’s manageable.”
Kubel said the ankle issue cropped up after he banged his knee against the outfield wall Sunday and rolled his ankle a few times over the next couple days. He expects to be back in the lineup Friday and Saturday. Kubel also experienced knee soreness earlier this spring but said Wednesday the knee feels fine.
BULLPEN SPOT IN FLUX
Gibson said Wednesday his bullpen is not totally set and went on to lay out what is and what isn’t.
Gibson said the following have secured spots: J.J. Putz, Heath Bell, David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Josh Collmenter.
That leaves two spots to be filled by the three left-handed relievers still in camp: Tony Sipp, Matt Reynolds and Joe Paterson. Sipp (2.70 ERA in 10 innings) and Paterson (0.93 ERA in 9 2/3 innings) have both had very good springs. Reynolds has not. Entering Wednesday he had a 9.67 ERA over 9 1/3 Cactus League innings.
Gibson said earlier in camp he expects Paterson to contribute in the majors this year, though it was not clear as to when. He has also said he doesn’t rely too much on spring stats, and in Reynolds’ case he would take his track record into account more than spring numbers. Still, it seems the decision could come down to Reynolds or Paterson, who broke camp with the team last season but struggled early and spent the rest of the year in the minors.
MARTE GETTING LOOKS
With Eaton out, the D-backs are evaluating options for a fourth outfielder, assuming A.J. Pollock is a starter. Gibson said Tuesday that Tony Campana and minor leaguer Alfredo Marte were the candidates.
It sounded Wednesday as if Marte might have an edge, especially considering how Campana has been limited by a cut on his left hand that required stitches, then open up again during a game, sidelining him even longer.
Gibson praised Marte’s hands and improved plate discipline on Wednesday.
“At the plate he’s come a long way,” Gibson said. “He used to swing at a lot of early pitches. Now he’s laying off them. We just see kind of a pure hitter.”