For a team that has been decimated by injuries this season, they might finally be getting some good news on the injury front. The Diamondbacks were out of the postseason race before the season even started. They lost ace Patrick Corbin for the rest of the year to a torn ACL that required him to have Tommy John Surgery. Then they lost reliever David Hernandez to the same injury. He was expected to have a bounce back year, and he was supposed to be a critical peice for the Dbacks pen.
These types of injuries, especially the Corbin injury, can be a critical blow for a team. The team admitted after the news was announced that this was a critical blow for the team, and it cleary affected each and every guy in the clubhouse. They also said that injuries are part of the game, and you have to overcome them. Well, this team clearly hasn’t been able to do that. They went 9-22 in the month of April and played themselves out of the N.L West divison and wild card races before the begining of May.
The injury bug didn’t stop there. They lost Mark Trumbo in early April, and he is just now coming back. Who knows what this team could have done with a full season of him in the cleanup spot protecting Paul Goldschmidt. They lost center-fielder A.J. Pollock to an injury at a critical time, and they recently lost Paul Goldschmidt for the rest of the year due to a fractured hand, after he was hit by a pitch in a recent series with the Pirates.
Despite all of this, the Diamondbacks have played close to .500 ball since the beginning of May, and if they have a good last month of the season, they have a chance to finish in third place in the N.L West. General Manager Kevin Towers and Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa are banking on the health of key players to help this team compete in 2015. This team certainly has the talent and veteran experience, they just need things to go their way.
Well, they might be getting the news they need on two of their key injuries. Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson updated the situation on both shortstop Chris Owings, and pitcher Daniel Hudson during the team’s series in Miami. Owings has been out since June 25th with a left shoulder strain.
This is what Gibson said about Owings situation speaking with azcentral sports Diamondbacks beat writer Nick Piecoro:
“I think Owings will probably (return in) September,” Gibson said. “He’s been out a long time. We’re going to have him play quite a bit.”
Last Friday, Owings faced live pitching for the first time since hitting the D.L, and went on a rehab assignment with the rookie level AZL Dbacks on Sunday. He hit third in the lineup, going 2 for 3. He also stole two bases. If all goes well, he is expected to play three more games with the Rookie level team before moving to Reno. He is expected to play five games with the Aces. Owings is expected to return to the team in two weeks if there are no setbacks.
Before the injury, Owings was a rookie of the year candiate. Before the injury, in 71 games with the Dbacks he was batting .283 with six home runs and 21 RBI’s. He also stole nine bases, and played a well defensively at short. Didi Gregorius has gotten most of the playing time at SS while Owings has been out. After starting out his rookie season well, he has struggled to hit major league pitching. In 49 games this season, he is batting .226 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI’s. He is struggling to get on base. When Owings comes back, he figures to get most of the playing time. Clearly Owings is the better player and is the future at SS.
Meanwhile, Hudson is also expected to return to the team in September. Last Saturday night he appeared in his third game for the Arizona League Dbacks tossing a scoreless inning while allowing one hit, and striking out one. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since June of 2012 having undergone not one but two Tommy John Surgeries. When he comes back, he is expected to pitch out of the bullpen, and he probably will be a reliever long term.
In other news, Pollock is also making progress in his return from a fractured right hand. He was hit by a pitch on the same hand during a rehab game which set him back temporarily. He swung the bat again on Monday, though there is no timetable of when he will return. Gibson said that there was no additional damamge caused by the second hit by pitch other than soreness.
It would be a big boost to this team to get all three back before the sesaon ends, and create some mometum going into next year, where the team hopes to avoid critical injuries that have been there downfall in 2014.