Justin Upton’s thumb injury is suddenly looking like a bigger deal. FOXSportsArizona’s Jack Magruder reports that he’ll get an MRI and see a hand specialist. A DL stint is a possibility.
Upton was a trendy pick to win NL MVP honors this year after busting out for 31 homers as a 23-year-old last season. However, with the thumb limiting him, he’s opened this season with a .212 average and no RBI through 10 games.
Fortunately, the Diamondbacks have the depth to cover an Upton injury. While many rallied against the team’s signing of Jason Kubel over the winter, it did turn Gerardo Parra into the league’s best fourth outfielder. He can play regularly in right field for however long Upton is out. If the Diamondbacks hadn’t signed Kubel, they might well have been left playing Willie Bloomquist in the outfield and John McDonald at shortstop for the duration of Upton’s absence. The Triple-A options (David Winfree, A.J. Pollock and Cole Gillespie) aren’t very attractive.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.