D-backs notes: Shelby Miller undergoes surgery, T.J. McFarland hits DL
PHOENIX — Text messages were exchanged between Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo and right-hander Shelby Miller.
Reliever Archie Bradley also reached out to his injured teammate.
Miller was due to undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.
“It’s a tough day for day for us,” Lovullo told reporters before the series finale against Detroit. “We know one of our family members is in surgery and is going to be gone for a little while. Fifteen months he’s going to be missing from us, but he’s not forgotten and I want him to know that we’re thinking about him through this process.”
The surgery, which calls for reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament, was performed by Dr. Neil ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Dr. ElAttrache was one of the three doctors Miller sought out after experiencing tightness on the inside of his right forearm during his start on April 23.
Recovery time from Tommy John surgery is typically 12-to-18 months.
“I think it’s human nature to kind of question if you’re ever going to come back; that’s the scariest thought is, ‘Are you going to ever get back to the big leagues? Are you ever going to be 100-percent healthy again?’ and Shelby has been wearing it well, putting on a good show in front of us,” Bradley said.
“Now that surgery is official today, I just want him to know that we’re here for him. We have really good team chemistry here. We’re becoming a family and Shelby is still a huge part of that and I just want him to know that and understand that.”
The hope, according to Lovullo, is that Miller is back at Chase Field soon.
“I think it’ll make me feel better when I see him, I know that for sure,” he said, “and I’m hoping that he’ll feel the same when he sees all of his teammates. He’ll see everybody pulling for him and I know that will lift his spirits.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, the D-backs placed reliever T.J. McFarland on the 10-day disabled list with a left ankle contusion.
McFarland was struck in the ankle by a James McCann line drive to leadoff the sixth inning the night before. The ball had an exit velocity of 104.6 mph.
“Yeah, it didn’t feel great,” said McFarland, who was still able to make the play and throw McCann out at first base.
X-rays were negative, which was good news according to McFarland. Still, he was going to be unavailable for a few days and with the D-backs needing a roster spot to recall right-hander Zack Godley to make Wednesday’s start, the decision was made to shelve McFarland.
“It was the right situation for him to not force anything,” Lovullo said. “So, put him on the DL, let him catch his breath a little bit, get some strength and some flexibility back in that lower half and see where that takes him.”
— For the sixth time in eight games, shortstop Nick Ahmed found his name written in the starting lineup on Wednesday. He made only 11 starts all of April.
“As I stated earlier, I don’t think he’s a backup or a bench player. He’s somebody that we count on in a lot of different areas,” Lovullo said. “The defense is great. It gives us a lot of stability when he’s out there, but he’s a good baseball player and he deserves to play.”
— With 11 stolen bases in 32 games to begin the season, A.J. Pollock is well on his way to setting a new career-high in that category. He stole 39 in 2015.
“With base running, like hitting or pitching, you get locked in and the timing and the feeling of your jumps comes and goes, so for me right now, it seems like he’s hitting it just right and it’s translating and he’s having a lot of success,” Lovullo said.
— Overshadowed by Tuesday’s loss to the Tigers was right fielder David Peralta’s catch, perhaps robbing Miguel Cabrera of a home run in the seventh inning.
“I wasn’t sure if it was gone, but I think it was pretty close,” Peralta said. “Maybe it was going to be those kind of home runs that are, like, barely gone or maybe it would hit the wall but I’m glad I made the catch.”