Arizona Diamondbacks Can Overcome Injury Problems with Pitching
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It has been a rough final week of spring training for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
As the team should be winding up camp and getting everything lined up for Opening Day, the D'Backs are having to deal with depth issues even before the seasons starts.
Injuries to Willie Bloomquist, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton, Aaron Hill and Cody Ross have severely tested the organizational depth of Arizona.
Bloomquist looks like he will start the season on the DL, according to Steve Gilbert at MLB.com. Kubel looks like he will be day-to-day with a left ankle injury, and Hill said he was fine after being hit on his left little finger.
About three months ago, it looked like the D'Backs had an excess at shortstop and the outfield. Now they look short in both areas. Such is life in baseball. Baseball is a game of attrition over 162 games, and the D'Backs are being tested early. If they can survive this early turn of events, then they should be in contention all season.
While the injuries might impact Arizona to start the season, the D'Backs have potentially the deepest pitching staff in the NL West, and that should keep them in the hunt during the first month of the season.
The D'Backs rotation will consist of Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin. Kennedy is only one season removed from going 21-4 in 2011. He should be entering the prime of his career at age 28 and needs to be the leader of the staff.
Will the D'Backs have the best pitching in the division?
The 29-year-old McCarthy was a shrewd signing by the D'Backs in an attempt to bolster their rotation. As long as he shows that he is having no ill effects from getting hit by a line drive last season and undergoing surgery to relive pressure in his brain and having a skull fracture. This should be a solid move, especially coming to the National League.
Miley was the best pitcher on the Arizona staff last season, winning 16 games and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting. Being able to plug him into the fourth spot in the rotation is pretty impressive.
The bullpen figures to be a strength of the team with the depth of closer J.J. Putz supported by David Hernandez and Heath Bell.
Arizona may not have a starter that matches up exactly with Clayton Kershaw of the L.A. Dodgers or Matt Cain of the S.F. Giants, but Arizona can boast the deepest rotation in the division and will likely have impact pitching in Triple-A with Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado.
D'Backs general manager Kevin Towers has put a lot on the line by reconfiguring the team away from being dependant on the home run. Trading Justin Upton for Martin Prado will do that. It is a move that will payoff early in the season by the emphasis on manufacturing runs and cutting down on the strikeouts.
Pitching will have to carry the Diamondbacks this season, and it will have to start on Opening Day.
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