Heading into the 2013 season, it appeared the Arizona Diamondbacks had finally found a prototypical leadoff hitter in Adam Eaton.
But the young center fielder suffered a left elbow injury that will sideline him for at least six weeks.
On to Plan B.
Willie Bloomquist, who has filled the leadoff role for portions of each of the last two seasons, is also on the shelf. The 35-year-old will start the season on the disabled list with an oblique strain suffered Tuesday night in a win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Bring on Plan C.
“I’m sure I’ll sit down with Gibby and talk it over, but (Gerardo) Parra, he’s done it in the past,” D-backs general manager Kevin Towers told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 620. “Possibly Parra, possibly (A.J.) Pollock, if he’s out there.”
Parra did perform quite well while batting first in the order in 2012, hitting .307 with an on-base percentage of .374 — which would have ranked ninth in the National League if spread out over a whole season.
Pollock should make the Opening Day roster, but injuries to Eaton and veteran Cody Ross are big factors in that possibility. The 25-year-old has only 93 at-bats on his big league résumé.
“I know that the next two or three days, (Gibson) is going to be probably in a position where he’s trying different lineups to see how they look,” Towers said. “With Eaton in the equation, it was pretty simple. We had a pretty good idea, probably in the first week of Spring Training, how our lineup may look.
“But with Eaton going down and Willie going down, I’m sure you’re going to see different lineups out there the next two or three days.”
The Diamondbacks have one more Cactus League game remaining on the schedule. They’ll take on the Texas Rangers in Surprise Thursday before hosting the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field for exhibition games Friday and Saturday.
The regular season begins Monday night in downtown Phoenix against the St. Louis Cardinals, and Towers admits pitching matchups will also have a lot to do with how Gibson constructs his lineup in the interim.
“Who has numbers, (we’ll be) looking at scouting reports and who best fits that leadoff spot,” he said.