Spring has not been to friendly from a health stand point for the Arizona Diamondbacks. With Opening Day less than a week away, there are a number of key players that will start the year on the disabled list and also a few more that are banged up but will play through it.
The most crushing news of spring training was learning of outfielder Adam Eaton’s sprained UCL in his left elbow. Eaton explained that he felt fine and was pain free but just had some discomfort. It could have come from a new throwing motion that he has been trying out during the spring. He kept the discomfort to himself for a couple weeks before finally getting it checked out and having an MRI.
Eaton himself is as excited as all the members of the Diamondbacks organization and fans for the start of his first full year in the big leagues. But it will have to wait six to eight weeks until Eaton will, as he put it, be released like a caged animal. All can take a collective sigh of relief that no Tommy John Surgery is needed.
On Tuesday night’s spring training game against the Angels, Aaron Hill, Jason Kubel and Willie Bloomquist all left the game with injuries. Aaron Hill looks to be fine after getting hit on the hand by a pitch. Kubel battling ankle discomfort was right back out at work on Wednesday and took seven at bats in a minor league game. He said, “I feel fine.” Of the three it looks like Bloomquist looks to have the most serious situation as hi will start the year on the DL with a grade two strain of his right oblique. He spent a lot of time last season on the DL with back problems.
Diamondbacks rookie of the year candidate from last season, Wade Miley, is going through dead arm period. He is slated to make his final spring training start on Saturday against Cincinnati and Kirk Gibson said if he makes it through that ok, he will be the fourth starter in the rotation.
New outfielder Cody Ross will start the season on the DL. He aggravated a strained left calf at the beginning of spring training which has kept him out of Cactus League play. Ross believed he would be ready for Opening Day but it is looking like that will not be the case.
Finally, newly-acquired shortstop Didi Gregorious is still working through an elbow injury of his own that is gradually improving. He is slated to start throwing this weekend and is expected be ready mid-april according to Kirk Gibson. It is expected that he will begin the year in triple-A Reno.
“We have tried to develop our depth all throughout spring training,” said Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson on Wednesday. “We’ve done that. And if somebody can’t play, we just have to move on. We’ve got to get those guys healthy and try to figure out who is going to get the next opportunity.”
Two guys to keep an eye on that will have a golden chance to take advantage of an opportunity. Outfielders Gerrardo Parra and A.J. Pollock. Parra has not been used as an everyday outfielder but can make a strong case to be by coming out of the gates strong with Eaton and Ross sidelined. Pollock has been brought up and sent down quite a few times over the last year. He can make a strong to ensure the big leagues is his permanent home this year. If Ross does in fact begin the year on the DL, Alfredo Marte or Tony Campana will get the nod for that spot.
But to give some positive news as it pertains to Diamondbacks injuries. Starting pitcher Daniel Hudson took the mound for a bullpen session for the first time since having Tommy John Surgery last year. His expected return is still slated to be around the All-Star break and everything looks to be on-schedule.
The Diamondbacks head to Chase Field to face the Reds for an exhibition game on Saturday before the start of the 2013 season against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 1st.