D-backs’ Steven Souza Jr. has torn ACL and LCL, out for season

Mar 26, 2019, 3:29 PM | Updated: Mar 27, 2019, 11:40 am
Arizona Diamondbacks' Steven Souza Jr. lies on the field after getting injured while scoring agains...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Steven Souza Jr. lies on the field after getting injured while scoring against the Chicago White Sox in the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 25, 2019, in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. will miss the 2019 season with a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee, manager Torey Lovullo announced Tuesday.

Souza also has a partial PCL tear and a posterior lateral capsule tear.

The outfielder exited Monday’s exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox at Chase Field.

“Just a really, really unfortunate situation for him for the obvious reasons,” Lovullo said Tuesday. “We hurt for him right now. We’re going to be behind him through the tough times.”

Souza will undergo surgery when swelling in his knee goes down and there is no timetable for that as of Tuesday.

Lovullo did not have time after Arizona fell, 7-1, to Chicago in the final spring game to understand if Souza’s baseball future was at risk due to the severity of the injury.

“I don’t know those answers. I was just briefed on it right now,” he said. “I didn’t ask many questions. I was in semi-shock, so I don’t know.”

In the bottom of the fourth inning on Monday night, Souza reached base on a force out. When Ketel Marte doubled to right, Souza scored on the play but appeared to slip on home plate, flipping over and grabbing at his leg.

Immediately following Souza’s injury, Lovullo and D-backs GM Mike Hazen discussed how the team could prevent such injuries.

Lovullo said he would strongly urge his players to wear metal cleats rather than the plastic cleats that Souza was wearing when he injured his knee.

“It’s a hard thing to make guys wear certain types of equipment, especially given some health concerns — some guys have foot issues,” he said. “I’m going to strongly encourage them to get (metal) spikes. If they still have a good reason for not (wearing spikes), I can accept that.

“I definitely don’t want to see that happening to anybody. That was an awful scene.”

Lovullo said he believes only a handful of players wear plastic spikes and the majority still wear metal spikes.

In spring training last season, Souza hurt his pectoral muscle attempting to make a sliding catch in right field. His first attempted return led to a setback, and he eventually was healthy enough to play in 72 games during the season.

Souza hit .220 with five home runs and 29 RBIs in 2018, his first year with Arizona after being acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays last offseason.

In 2017 with the Rays, Souza hit 30 home runs and slashed .239/.351/.459.

He was expected to be a big part of the outfield group returning David Peralta and Jarrod Dyson. The D-backs added Adam Jones and transitioned infielder Ketel Marte to center field after losing center fielder A.J. Pollock in the offseason.

The Diamondbacks have already placed outfielder Socrates Brito on waivers, making an immediate replacement unclear if Souza’s injury is serious.

Brito was one of the final roster decisions left for Arizona with the 25-man roster needed to be set by Opening Day this Thursday, when the D-backs will begin 2019 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road.

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