Arizona Outfield Is Ailing

Arizona Outfield Is Ailing

Many questioned the Arizona Diamondbacks' acquisition of Jason Kubel this winter, but the added outfield depth is key now that star outfielders Chris Young and Justin Upton are both missing time due to injury. Top prospect A.J. Pollock is also being counted on to help with the outfield situation.

When it rains, it pours. All-Star right fielder Justin Upton missed Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh because of his sore left thumb, and centerfielder Chris Young missed the final 4 1/2 innings after suffering a shoulder contusion.  CY hit the wall after making a long running catch on Pedro Alvarez's drive to deep left-center in the top of the fourth inning in the Pirates' 5-4 victory.

Upton received an MRI and had fluid drained from his left thumb, which he injured when he jammed it into the second-base bag while sliding to break up a double play April 8. X-rays taken on Young's shoulder were negative, but an MRI is scheduled for Wednesday, when neither is expected to play.

"That was a great catch; he got crushed," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Young.  "He is very sore."

Young leaped as he made the back-handed catch and his right shoulder rammed into the fence before he could do much to cushion the impact. Manager Kirk Gibson and trainer P.J. Mainville ran out to the field as Young stayed down on the warning track for several minutes before leaving the game.

"I've made plays like that in the past, and I think I was able to time my jump a little bit better and brace myself a little bit more," Young said.  "I thought I just lost my breath, then as I was laying there I realized my shoulder was hurting a little bit. It stayed a little tight on me so I came out (of) the game,"

"It's a little tighter now. I can't lift it right now. We'll see. I'm sure it's in a little bit of shock. All we can do right now is ice it and do a little 'stim' machine on it and hope it feels better in the morning."

It did not, and the D-backs' leader in nearly every offensive category was placed on the 15-day DL.  Young, who doubled and scored in a two-run first inning, is second in the NL with five homers, second with a 1.397 OPS, third with a .410 batting average, and tied for third with 13 RBI. He hit safely in 10 of the first 11 games, held hitless only when Colorado pitched around him and walked him twice last Friday.

Upton is coming off his best year, when he made a second NL All-Star team and won an NL Silver Slugger award by hitting .289 with 39 doubles, 31 home runs and 88 RBI. He also stole 21 bases and had career highs in all four of those categories. He is hitting .212 with no homers this season, the thumb obviously affecting his batting stroke.

"I hope so, but I really don't know," Upton said when asked if he would avoid the disabled list. "I'm going to come in tomorrow and see how it feels. Come in the next day and see how it feels. It's one of those things where you have to give it a little bit of time. Right now, it doesn't look like we have the time, but I want to make sure it's where I can swing the bat 100 percent."

SNAKE BYTES

-RHP Bryan Shaw gave up his first earned run of the season in his seventh appearance while taking his second loss after Pittsburgh bunched three two-out singles in the ninth, the first when LF Alex Pressley hit a slow hopper that went off Shaw's glove to conclude a nine-pitch at-bat. "It's a play we should make," manager Kirk Gibson said.

--SS John McDonald hit his first home run as a D-back in the eighth inning to tie the game at 4 before the Pirates rallied for a run in the ninth. McDonald entered the game when CF Chris Young (shoulder) was removed after running into the wall while making a catch in left-center field. "With what Chris has already done this season, the disappointment of losing him is tough for a lot of us right now," McDonald said. "Everyone is anxious to see how he feels in the morning. Any result that you get in a ball game after one of your teammates goes down is very small in comparison."

--OF Gerardo Parra started in right field in place of RF Justin Upton on Tuesday, after Upton had his jammed left thumb reevaluated by hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan in the late afternoon. Upton suffered the injury when he caught his thumb on the second-base bag as he slid in attempting to break up a double play April 8. Upton, coming off a career year, was 5-for-24 since and has no RBI this season.

"If he keeps beating on it, it's not going to get better. At some point, you have to think long-term," manager Kirk Gibson said.

--OF A.J. Pollock is to be promoted from Class AAA Reno on Wednesday, manager Kirk Gibson said, to add outfield depth. Pollock, the last outfielder sent out in spring training, is hitting .340 with six doubles, five RBI and four stolen bases. To make room on the roster, the D-backs will place IF Geoff Blum (side) on the disabled list. Blum was said to have suffered his injury during pregame batting practice.

--LHP Joe Saunders reached 1,000 career innings when he went seven innings for a 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday. Saunders gave up one run in seven innings and now has pitched 1,000 2/3 innings in all or parts of his eight major league seasons. Saunders is 70-52 with a 4.11 ERA in 163 career appearances, all starts. He pitched a career-high 212 innings with the D-backs last season and has 14 innings this season, high on the team through the first two turns through the rotation.

DIAMOND STAT: 16 -- D-backs runs in their 11 first innings this season.

QUOTABLE: "I knew it wasn't a homer, so if it's not a homer I'm going to take a shot at going to get it." -- CF Chris Young, who suffered a right shoulder contusion and had to leave the game when he collided with the wall after catching Pedro Alvarez's long drive to left-center field in the fourth inning Tuesday.


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