The Arizona Diamondbacks have a problem that no one could have foreseen coming with the regular season less than two weeks away: a thin outfield.
On Friday, the D-backs announced that they would be without speedy center fielder Adam Eaton for 6-8 weeks as he recovers from a UCL sprain in his left elbow.
However, Arizona won’t have to look too far to find a replacement for ESPN.com’s No. 1 impact prospect of 2013.
Manager Kirk Gibson need not look further than the only remaining outfielder from the 2011 NL West Championship team, Gerardo Parra.
While the D-backs manager didn’t officially say that Parra would be the starting center fielder Friday, he seemed to be leaning towards him for the position.
“[Parra] has played a lot of center,” Gibson said. “Pollock has not. So for right now [Parra] will play a couple days of center field and we’ll continue to evaluate that.”
Parra, who won a Gold Glove in left field during that 2011 campaign, is arguably the most defensively-sound player on the D-backs roster.
When asked about just how good the outfield could be defensively with him at center, Parra confidently responded by saying they would be “the best, the best in the National League.”
Parra has never been a player who’s been known for his offense, as he hit .273 with seven home runs and 36 RBI in spot duty at the plate last season. But with a career .280 average and a cannon of a left arm, Parra would be a suitable replacement for Eaton in centerfield for the first month of the season.
“I feel great,” said Parra. “I’m just ready for the opportunity; ready to play my game.”
It’s just up to Kirk Gibson to give him that opportunity.