MLB: A Busy 2nd half of the Baseball Season for the Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks coaches and front-office have an immediate task for the second half of the season. That is to evaluate the players on the roster and with all the injuries that this team has encountered, this has become an even greater priority as the Diamondbacks look forward to the trading deadline on July 31st.
Chris Owings was placed on the disabled list (DL) this past Sunday. He is the 12th player to be put on the DL this season by the team. Owings is scheduled to have an MRI on his shoulder and although it is not believed to be serious, the Diamondbacks will most likely keep him out through the All-Star break. He is eligible to return July 11 (the Friday before the All-Star break), but the Diamondbacks might want him to go on a rehab assignment in the minors to make sure he will be ready for the second half of the season.
With Owings on the DL the Diamondbacks will be showcasing another future big league player earlier than expected. Shortstop Nick Ahmed arrived from AAA Reno on Sunday and although it might only be a short-term stay for Ahmed, any experience he can get now will only help him out when he makes a return to the major league club later.
Ahmed was part of the trade with the Braves after the 2012 season, when the Diamondbacks traded Justin Upton and Chris Johnson for Ahmed, along with Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill, and Brandon Drury.
When center fielder A.J. Pollock was placed on the DL with his broken hand four weeks ago he was just beginning to establish himself as the leadoff hitter the team had been seeking all season. The Diamondbacks were not sure if they were going to find another leadoff hitter to match Pollock’s recent play. Well it turns out they might have found a possible replacement in Ender Inciarte. He was called up on April 30th when Tony Campana and Roger Kieschnick were sent to AAA Reno. Recently Inciarte has provided some help as the leadoff hitter and with his play in the outfield.
He is 9-for-23 since being moved to the leadoff spot in the final game of the San Francisco series last Sunday, and he also included a four-hit game in Cleveland last Tuesday and a two-hit game the following night. He has shown some speed on the bases as well. In a win in San Diego on Saturday he singled, stole second and scored on Martin Prado’s sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to tie the game. Hopefully with more regular playing time, he will continue to settle in at the plate and it appears his confidence is growing as his batting average gets higher. He has also shown a major league-ready arm and range.
The team will also be evaluating the long-term health of Bronson Arroyo and how that will affect their entire starting rotation. Arroyo has been their best pitcher this season when he has been healthy. Will he comeback? Teams could stay away from possible trades involving Arroyo due to his injury.
The experience gained by Mike Bolsinger and Chase Anderson this season due to Arroyo’s injury and Cahill’s assignment to the minors can only help this team in the long term. Although they need to proceed with caution on both. Anderson, who started off with five wins, has now lost his last three games. He only pitched 87 innings last year. The combination of minor and major league innings this year he has come close to that total already. Bolsinger has been a tough-luck pitcher with his 1-4 record. The Diamondbacks have only scored two runs for him in his last two starts.
Matt Stites and Evan Marshall are also gaining needed major league experience as relief pitchers due to the ineffectiveness of Will Harris, who was sent back to the minor and the release of JJ Putz. Both had scoreless appearances again Sunday and are future building blocks for this team’s bullpen.
The Diamondbacks, who are currently 35-49 did win two out of three games from the Padres and before Sunday’s loss, were percentage points out of fourth place for the first time since April 1.
For us fans there is still a lot of baseball left this season, and, although this team is out of contention for a playoff spot, there is still the goal of getting out of last place. That is something the players want to accomplish and they possibly could pass the Colorado Rockies for third place as well.
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