Qualls Expects to Return Next Spring
Chad Qualls (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Posted Sep 3, 2009

As gruesome as Chad Qualls' season-ending knee injury on Sunday was, he still expects to rejoin the Arizona Diamondbacks for spring training next year. Qualls will undergo surgery as soon as his swelling fades and should miss three-to-four months.

RHP Chad Qualls will undergo surgery to repair a torn femoral tendon in his left patella once the swelling subsides. The normal recovery time is three to four months, the D-backs said, so Qualls is expected to be 100 percent for the start of spring training. He set a career-high with 24 saves in 29 opportunities this season and has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining.

Qualls went on the 60-day disabled list on Monday, August 31st. He suffered a dislocated left kneecap the previous day on a comebacker hit by the Astros' Jason Michaels. He was able to deflect the ball to shortstop Stephen Drew, who retired Michaels to secure the victory.

"You could see the dislocation," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said after the game.

RHP Juan Gutierrez has allowed a baserunner while converting his first two save opportunities after replacing RHP Chad Qualls as the closer. Gutierrez needed only eight pitches to get two groundouts and a foul-out Wednesday, two days after another 1-2-3 inning.

Gutierrez, whose fastball can reach the upper 90s, has converted three of four save chances this season. He and Qualls came over to the D-backs together in the deal involving closer Jose Valverde. While Gutierrez figures to get the majority of save opportunities, Hinch stopped short of naming him the closer.

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