For the D-backs and Jake Lamb, season-ending surgery gives clarity
PHOENIX — As Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb pointed out, it’s not ideal to get injured and have surgery. But if there was any consolation to come from Thursday’s news that Lamb’s season is over, it’s that there’s some clarity on what had been bothering him.
The 27-year-old will have surgery to repair a frayed left rotator cuff and is expected to be ready for spring training in 2019. The procedure will end a 2018 campaign in which the left-handed hitter is batting a career-low .222 with six home runs and 31 RBI.
Lamb went on the 10-day disabled list with a “left shoulder contusion” on July 27, a day after he exited a game early in Chicago. Manager Torey Lovullo said Thursday that fraying in the rotator cuff in that shoulder was later discovered by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, at which point Lamb was given the option to have surgery.
But even though the most recent DL stint was a new development, issues with his swing have been ongoing.
“It was the dive to make the play against the Dodgers, it was a slide into home plate in the same game [on April 2] where he recognized something wasn’t right,” Lovullo said. “All indications were showing that he was healthy enough to return when he did, and then there was a setback along the way as he was rehabbing at different points in time.”
The D-backs eventually activated Lamb from the DL on May 15 after a stint for what was called a left AC joint sprain. But something still wasn’t quite right, even if it wasn’t necessarily painful.
“I was feeling a little bit of pain towards the end there in Chicago and stuff,” Lamb said. “But I went a good two months with zero pain. When it comes to the communication with the training staff and Torey, that was the hardest part, because there was no pain.
“So when they asked me, ‘Are you feeling good?’ I did feel good. And I thought it was just swing mechanic issues.”
But it instead appears that a nagging injury was the source of the swing problems.
“It’s my back arm [that’s injured], so getting on-plane with the ball, dropping my elbow and then finishing through the baseball,” Lamb said when asked how the injury was affecting his swing. “Because the move going across and up is the most painful slash most uncomfortable.”
The Diamondbacks can move forward with Eduardo Escobar, a recent trade acquisition, as the No. 1 option at third base. And for Lamb, if nothing else, there’s some knowledge about what might have been bothering him.
“It was honestly a little bit of a relief when I saw the tear and everything like that,” Lamb said. “Not that it’s an excuse, because that was, again another mental battle, going through struggles is part of this game, especially hitting-wise. But it never felt right whether it was in the game, in BP.”
–Shelby Miller, who was recently transferred to from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list, is still working through a recovery process and said he believed he’s eligible to come back on Sept. 11.
“I think the 60-day thing is just more of kind of being extra careful with it. The only time I really feel anything is when I throw my curveball,” he said. “Fastball and everything is fine, but when I grip a curveball and a completely different arm path, I kind of feel just a little bit of soreness when I still throw that. So that’s kind of the only thing we’re trying to get out of there.”
He added that perhaps a bullpen role would be his landing spot if he returns this regular season to lighten the workload before “firing it back up” and preparing for next year.
–Deven Marrero (oblique) continues a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Reno Aces and was expected to play in the field on Thursday night before an off-day on Friday. Lovullo said he’s been playing third base, shortstop and DH, and would add second base into that mix after his day off.
–Jarrod Dyson (groin) was working on a treadmill that didn’t require him to run with his full body weight on his legs.
–Andrew Chafin (paternity leave list) is expected to return to the team on Friday. Silvino Bracho had been called up in his place, but was sent back down on Thursday as recent trade acquisition Brad Ziegler was activated.
Thus, Chafin’s return will require a roster move by the D-backs. Lovullo said he was not yet sure what that roster move would be.