As expected, Dominic Brown will undergo surgery tomorrow on the broken hamate bone in his right hand and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Hamate injuries can be tough to recover from, particularly for power hitters, as it often takes a while before their full strength returns.
It’s an unfortunate setback for one of the game’s best hitting prospects, as Brown was deserving of a chance to claim the starting job in right field after hitting .327 with 20 homers, 17 steals, and a .980 OPS in 93 games between Double-A and Triple-A prior to being called up mostly to sit on the Phillies’ bench down the stretch.
In the short term, however, Ben Francisco is capable of doing a decent job as the primary right fielder. He’s off to a good start this spring and has hit .263 with a .775 OPS in 1,221 career plate appearances, which is very close to average production from a corner outfielder. He may be hard-pressed to match those career totals if he’s no longer being spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but expecting much more than that type of production from Brown as a 23-year-old rookie would be wishful thinking anyway.
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.
Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss up to three weeks with a right calf strain, reports John Lott. Donaldson reportedly felt some discomfort in his calf during sprinting drills on Friday and was diagnosed with what looked like a mild strain after undergoing an MRI on Saturday. According to Lott, the 31-year-old is on crutches for the next few days and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of spring training.
Donaldson had a similar scare at the start of the 2016 season, when he limped out of the batter’s box during the Blue Jays’ first regular season road trip with a right calf strain. He returned to DH two days later, however, and was back on the field in less than a week’s time. Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins told MLB.com’s Corey Long that the two calf injuries are unrelated, and expects that Donaldson will recover in similar fashion this spring — well before Opening Day comes around.