Diamondbacks Report: March 21, vs. Angels — Carson Kelly Has Fractured Forearm

Carlos Vargas throwing a pitch for the Diamondbacks against the Angels.
(Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

Angels 7, Diamondbacks 1

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Mar. 21) — The keyword for Tuesday at Arizona Diamondbacks spring training camp was “damp.” It was gloomy and cloudy all day, with spells of light rain leading up to the game against the Los Angeles Angels. But there were other clouds over camp as an injury report came in. Catcher Carson Kelly, the presumptive primary catcher, has a forearm fracture and will miss several weeks. Merrill Kelly started for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic Championship Game against Japan. Zach Davies started for the Diamondbacks in their game against the Angels. And Dominic Fletcher gave observers a bit of a scare in the bottom of the ninth.

Injury Report and Updates

Carson Kelly, who left the game Monday after being hit by a pitch on his right forearm, is going to be out several weeks. His diagnosis is a right distal ulna fracture. The ulna is the forearm bone lining up with the pinky (think: P-U), and the “distal” section is in the third closest to the wrist. According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Kelly told reporters after Monday’s game that it hurt “really badly” and that his concern was “not minimal.” Manager Torey Lovullo said the injury was “very unfortunate.” He noted that injuries like this, which was similar to the Jose Altuve injury in the World Baseball Classic, “can happen anywhere at any time.”

Lovullo added, “It was a tough day for me yesterday to get this news that he was going to get x-rayed and something was wrong.” Kelly has “battled a ton of injury,” in the words of Lovullo. Lovullo added, “You get to a certain point with your athletes where they’re like your kids. When you have to continue to watch them work through these moments and get frustrated and get healthy then have to do all over again, it’s tough. Very tough.”

There is no timeframe for the recovery as of yet, but these types of injuries typically take at least eight weeks. In the meantime, Lovullo said, “there is an opportunity for somebody to do their job and show us what they can do. We have to evaluate the next level of player to get in that situation and help us win baseball games.”

Catching Situation

When acquiring Gabriel Moreno in the Daulton Varsho Trade, the plan from the team was to ease Moreno into the full-time role out from behind Kelly. The injury to Kelly forces these plans to change. Lovullo said that, now, easing Moreno into the role “might not be a possibility.” He added, “We haven’t come up with any secondary plans, but we’re talking about several things.”

Jose Herrera started 2022 as the backup catcher but was optioned to Triple-A Reno August 9. When asked if that gave Herrera a “leg up” on the others, Lovullo said, “He’s been here and is part of the culture and this organization. (Herrera) has done everything we’ve asked him to from the time he …became a big leaguer.” Familiarity with the staff will definitely be a consideration. However, Lovullo concluded with, “There’s no leg up. It’s neutral. We’re throwing everything back into the pool to figure out what to do.”

Other Injuries

Jake McCarthy is still out while battling personal illness. Lovullo said, “I think he’s gonna be back on Thursday and most likely in the lineup Friday.”

Outfielder Dominic Fletcher took a fastball off the kneecap while batting in the bottom of the ninth. Lovullo said, “I think he’s fine.” Fletcher left the game simply because it was cold and pinch-runner Jakey Josepha was “very eager” to get in the game, according to Lovullo.

Right-hander Corbin Martin, who has a right lat tendon tear, will miss the entire 2023 season. He also missed some of 2019 and all of 2020 with Tommy John surgery. (Note: Update given Sunday via Steve Gilbert.)

World Baseball Classic

As noted in the introduction, right-hander Merrill Kelly started the World Baseball Classic Championship Game for Team USA against Japan. Lovullo said, “We’re all gonna be watching very closely, cheering and rooting for Merrill. It’s an incredible accomplishment for him. He’s ready for this challenge. Merrill can jump in any environment and execute pitches at a very high level. That’s my scouting report on him. But I am so proud of Merrill. I’m so proud of his ability and where he’s gone. He’s pitching in on maybe one of the biggest stages. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.”

Third-base coach Tony Perezchica and infield coordinator Gil Velazquez have been away as members of Team Mexico’s coaching staff. Center fielder Alek Thomas played for Team Mexico in the tournament. Mexico bowed out Monday night after a walk-off loss to Japan in the semifinals. Lovullo expects all three to be back in town Wednesday.

Zach Davies

Starting pitcher Zach Davies tossed 81 pitches — 53 for strikes — across 3 2/3 innings. He left the game with one out in the fourth and reentered to face two batters in the fifth. Davies struck out the first before surrendering an infield single to the second. On the game, Davies gave up five runs on seven hits and one homer while walking one and striking out six.

Davies was “efficient,” according to Lovullo. “He pitched into the fifth inning and got his pitch count up to where we needed to.” Lovullo said Davies made “a couple of mistakes,” noting the hanging breaking ball in the first that Angels outfielder Jo Adell clobbered halfway up the berm beyond the left-field fence. But Lovullo also said Davies was “making pitches.” He added, “There was good separation between his fastball and his secondary stuff. (He just) got nicked up when he made some mistakes.”

Davies said he “felt pretty good” but was “still kind of working on things.” He added, “But we’re getting down to crunch time, and you have to be ready for the season. It only takes a few guys smacking you around to go back to what you know best. Curveball to Adell I probably won’t throw in-season after the pitch I threw beforehand, but it was a chance to get the curveball into the game. If I execute it better, it’s a different situation.”

Looking Ahead

The Diamondbacks have a day off Wednesday before returning to split-squad action Thursday. One group will stay home to face the Los Angeles Dodgers, while the other will head to Sloan Park in Mesa to face the Chicago Cubs. First pitch of the former will be at 1:10, and first pitch of the latter will be at 1:05. Starting pitchers for both games have yet to be announced.

Main Photo Credit:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Mar. 21) — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Carlos Vargas delivers to Edgar Quero of the Los Angeles Angels in the top of the fifth inning at Salt River Fields. Logan O’Hoppe takes a lead off first as PJ Higgins holds him on, with Jake Hager ready at second base. The Angels defeated the Diamondbacks, 7–1. (Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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