With one pitch, a forgettable season turned into a nightmare one for the Diamondbacks.
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Pinch-hitting in a game his team was losing 9-4, Paul Goldschmidt took an Ernesto Frieri fastball off his left hand during Friday's game, sustaining a fracture and likely ending the first baseman's season. With an eight-week recovery period, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said Goldschmidt's season is "realistically" over.
"He told me, you can figure on eight weeks," Gibson said of team doctor Don Sheridan's diagnosis. "Six to eight weeks, but probably more eight weeks is going to be the way you're going to do it. That's kind of the way the fracture is. If you rush it, you could end up injuring it. Then you do displace the fracture, and you're looking at worse things."
With Arizona's season down the drain and Goldschmidt representing one of the lone bright spots in the desert, the team would be crazy to push Goldschmidt to come back for a few games at the end of September.
If Goldschmidt's season is truly over, it was yet another stellar, if abbreviated, season for the 26-year-old. Goldschmidt batted .300/.396/.542 with 39 doubles, 19 home runs, 69 RBI, 79 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 109 games. He was well on his way to a third straight 20-homer, 10-steal season before Friday's disaster.
The injury creates a ripple effect for playing time at Chase Field going forward. Mark Trumbo has experience at first base, so he will most likely get the lion's share of starts there. Gibson also named Jordan Pacheco as someone who could see some time at first.
With Trumbo evacuating a corner outfield spot and Gerardo Parra shipped away to the Brewers at the trade deadline, the Diamondbacks will likely roll with a dream outfield of David Peralta, Ender Inciarte and, soon, A.J. Pollock. Peralta has shown surprising usefulness through 51 games, hitting .313/.347/.469, and Pollock was hitting .316/.366/.554 before a broken hand gave him the Goldschmidt treatment. Of the three, Pollock is the most mixed-league relevant.
For fantasy owners with a sudden void at first base, some options exist in the form of a trio of players currently owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Chris Carter (48 percent owned), and James Loney (21 percent owned) and Jon Singleton (15 percent owned), while all with their own warts, have been serviceable fantasy options in recent weeks.
Side Pain Sidelines McCutchen
While the Diamondbacks couldn't avoid a major injury to their star, the Pirates are hoping Andrew McCutchen will be able to dodge one of his own.
McCutchen wasn't able to dodge a fastball from Randall Delgado on Saturday, retaliation for Goldschmidt's injury the night before, and on Sunday McCutchen left in the eighth inning after feeling some discomfort in his left side. McCutchen said he didn't know if the two incidents were related.
"I hope not, but it did hit me right in the spine," McCutchen said. "So it was tight, stiff a little bit. And I had to get a little bit of [pregame] treatment.
"But I went through my warmups fine, no issues, hitting and all that. It wasn't a major issue besides being bruised. But the side has never been a problem ever in my life, so I've never had to deal with this, so who knows."
And even though McCutchen said X-rays on the side "were fine" and that he thought it may just have been a cramp, the outfielder wasn't even able to zip his own travel bag in the locker room after the game. The Pirates have a day off on Monday, and McCutchen will undergo further testing to explore the extent of the injury. More should be known about his status at that point.
Strained Oblique Gets Garza
The only thing person that could stop Matt Garza on Sunday was Matt Garza.
The right-hander mowed through the Cardinals lineup on Sunday, allowing just one hit and using just 71 pitches to get through six innings of work. But when Garza's spot came up in the top of the seventh inning, it was pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay, not Garza, who stepped to the plate.
The curious move was later explained when it came out that Garza had suffered a left oblique strain in the game. Garza said the injury isn't as bad as the one he sustained while a member of the Cubs last year, but he was still unsure of how much time the injury might force him to miss.
"Hopefully, it's not bad. But it was bad enough where I had to take myself out of the game, and I don't do that," Garza said.
The Brewers added the aforementioned Parra at the trade deadline but didn't add an arm, so filling the void left by Garza will likely be done internally. Marco Estrada, who was exiled to the bullpen in early July, is one option to start in Garza's absence. Mike Fiers, who owns a 2.55 ERA and 0.95 WHIP through 17 starts for Triple-A Nashville, would be another option. And with the waiver trade deadline still a few weeks away, the club could still seek outside help in the coming days as well.
National League Quick Hits: Angel Pagan (back) could be activated from the disabled list as early as Tuesday. Pagan played a rehab game Sunday and will play another Monday, and if all goes well he will rejoin the Giants for the start of their series against the Brewers ... Pagan's teammate, Madison Bumgarner, twirled an absolute gem on Sunday, striking out 10 in a complete-game shutout of the Mets. Bumgarner allowed just two hits on the afternoon, needing only 94 pitches to finish what he started ... Not to be outdone, Stephen Strasburg also struck out 10 in the Nationals' shutout of the Phillies. On the other side, Cole Hamels allowed only an unearned run over seven innings but took the loss in the 1-0 affair ... Given Pedro Alvarez' struggles at third base, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle indicated Sunday that the club is thinking about transitioning him to first base. That move doesn't appear to be imminent, though, meaning Alvarez will instead see his playing time cut over the season's final two months ... The Tony Gwynn Jr. era in Philadelphia continues, as the Phillies brought Gwynn Jr. back on a minor league deal.
American League Quick Hits: Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) could be given clearance to play catch on Monday. The right-hander is reportedly feeling much better in the wake of three platelet-rich plasma injections in his right elbow ... Mike Carp was claimed off waivers by the Rangers on Sunday. The 28-year-old will certainly find his way into the lineup on most nights for the lowly Rangers, making him a player worth owning in AL-only leagues ... Speaking of waiver claims, the Twins picked up Jordan Schafer from the Braves via waivers as well. Schafer has enough speed to be a decent pickup in AL-only leagues, but it remains to be seen how the playing time in center field shakes on at Target Field ... One of those center field options, Danny Santana, had a monster game Sunday. The 23-year-old went 5-for-6 with four RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases in a one-sided victory over the White Sox. Santana is now hitting a robust .325/.362/.497 on the year, so wherever he plays, there's no question Santana will be in the lineup every night from here on out ... Neftali Feliz suffered his first blown save of the season, serving up a two-run shot to David Murphy ... Anibal Sanchez struck out 12 Rockies batters while allowing just two hits Sunday. Sanchez is currently the Tigers' third-best starter, ladies and gentlemen.