D-backs consider life without Goldy
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks will play the final two months of the season working through their nightmare scenario.
How do you replace Paul Goldschmidt?
The answer is easy.
Goldschmidt led the major leagues in doubles and was ranked in the top dozen in RBI, OPS, slugging percentage and WAR before being lost for the season after being hit by a pitch Friday. Goldschmidt was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal on his left hand. While the recovery period was said to be six to eight weeks, manager Kirk Gibson said eight weeks is more likely.
"Realistically ... he's done," Gibson said of Goldschmidt's season.
Not that the two-time All-Star will make himself scarce. Goldschmidt, left hand in a protective brace, stood at home plate an hour before the D-backs' 3-2 10-inning victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday, talking with Mark Trumbo and coaches Alan Trammell and Glenn Sherlock about the nuances of playing first base at Chase Field.
Trumbo played his first game of the season at first on Sunday, and it looked a little like riding a bike. He showed awareness by throwing out Gregory Polanco at home plate trying to score from second base on a groundout by Russell Martin in the eighth inning of a 2-2 game.
Trumbo is likely to spend much of the final 52 games there, Gibson indicated, and it would be a natural move. Trumbo played 276 games at first base in his four seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before moving to left field when he was acquired by the D-backs this winter.
"His actions seem pretty smooth over there," Gibson said. "It is going to be hard to replace Goldy with what he brought us over there with his consistency, but he is one of our main options looking to move forward."
The more difficult part is replacing Goldschmidt's bat.
Goldschmidt hit third in the lineup in the final five months of the 2013 season and was a fixture there this season while starting all but two games.
Hot-hitting David Peralta batted third against Pirates' right-hander Vance Worley on Saturday, and Aaron Hill hit third against left-hander Francisco Liriano on Sunday. With Goldschmidt out and Martin Prado and Gerardo Parra traded away, the D-backs have to consider many new options.
Goldschmidt leads the team in doubles, home runs (19), RBI (69), hits (122), runs (75), walks (64) and even stolen bases (nine). Miguel Montero has 11 homers and 59 RBI, and he has batted fourth most of the season behind Goldschmidt. Hill has nine homers and 50 RBI.
Trumbo has hit fourth several times since his return from the disabled list the weekend before the All-Star break, and he is likely to slot into the middle of the lineup with Peralta, Hill and Montero surrounding him in some order.
Hill was the No. 3 hitter before he was hit by a pitch and suffered a fractured hand a week into the 2013 season, and his absence prompted Gibson to move Goldschmidt there. Peralta, hitting .313 since his arrival June 1, has hit everywhere in the lineup but cleanup in his two months as he has continued to produce.
"If you just look at Goldy, he counts for over 30 percent of our run production," Gibson said, "and with the loss of Prado and Parra that number goes way up. Before that all happened, we had a pretty good rotation going on. We had it pretty well figured out.
"Having said that, it is also a great opportunity for guys to step up and replace that. I'm not sure we have it figured out. We are having conversations about that."
Cody Ross and A.J. Pollock will become factors when they return. Pollock's rehab assignment moves to Triple-A Reno starting Monday, and he could be back in a week. He had settled into the leadoff spot before he was hit in the hand May 31, but he could slide into a more run-producing spot in the lineup with Goldschmidt gone.
"We'll look for a rotation that works," Gibson said.