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Ketel Marte has back inflammation; D-backs win series finale

Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a grand slam in the seventh inning of the MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 04, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have been beat up lately, literally and figuratively.

Archie Bradley was unavailable on Monday with back spasms (though he pitched Wednesday). Nick Ahmed has missed two games in a row with a minor finger injury. Ketel Marte got an MRI on Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game with a back issue. And David Peralta has been on the IL for some time and won’t be back this season.

Arizona also won 11 of 12 before rattling off six losses, chipping away at the likelihood that they can make the postseason.

So it’s for that last reason that there’s little sense in rushing back Marte unless he’s healthy, which is to be determined. An MRI on Wednesday revealed that he had some inflammation in his lower back, and he’ll have a “precautionary” CT scan on Thursday to get further information.

It’s not clear yet when he’ll play again.

“The decision isn’t really up to me, but the objective is to not make things worse,” Marte said through a team interpreter on Wednesday. “There’s only nine games left in the year. Of course the confidence is there to be able to come back, but the main objective is to be careful and not re-aggravate it.”

Manager Torey Lovullo said the team will consider all of their options when determining what to do about Marte going forward.

“I want to believe that he’s going to be just fine and he’ll be back in there on Friday,” he said. “But I know that there’s some situations that would prevent that.”

Marte seemed to initially indicate that the artificial turf at Chase Field, which was installed this year after years of playing on natural grass, may have had an effect on his body.

“It’s actually been something that has been bothering me for the past two months,” Marte said through the interpreter. “The artificial turf took a toll on me and I just been dealing with for the past couple months. And then once I hit that double and I scored running the bases, then that’s when I was like, ‘No more.'”

However, Marte then corrected himself and said that the injury had more to do with playing center field for the first time.

“Well, you know, it’s really about my first year playing in center field,” he said through the interpreter. “I feel like next year, when I’m more used to playing center and I have all that experience under my belt, then my body will [be] more conditioned to play the outfield. Not as much about the turf. It’s about my body being used to playing center field for as long as it did.”


The D-backs on Wednesday beat the Marlins, 5-4. They also clinched the series win, taking two out of three games in a home series against the Marlins with Mike Leake on the mound for the finale.

In the win, Leake went 6.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits, no walks and four strikeouts. He gave up home runs to both Starlin Castro and Austin Dean.

“I felt pretty good,” Leake said. “Starlin kind of got me in the first two at bats for himself. I would’ve liked to maybe take that fourth fastball away or bury it inside a little more for his home run. Other than that, I thought I pitched pretty good. Alex [Avila] did a great job back there again.”

Leake has now pitched into the seventh inning or later in four of his last five starts. Wednesday marked his ninth start since joining the D-backs, and he has a 4.67 ERA in that time.

After Leake, with two outs in the seventh inning, the D-backs went to rookie Kevin Ginkel, who got out of the frame and stranded one runner. He went back out for the eighth inning, too, but gave up a double and a single and was removed with two outs after a hitter reached on catcher’s interference.

Archie Bradley pitched the rest of the game, earning a four-out save and not giving up a baserunner.

Offensively, Abraham Almonte led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run, and Christian Walker hit his 26th home run of the year on a solo shot in the fifth inning. Domingo Leyba had two RBIs, and Jarrod Dyson had one.

Walker and Avila each went 2-for-4 as the D-backs amassed nine hits as a team. Arizona also had two errors.

“After a really tough night [on Tuesday], I thought the guys came out today, quick turnaround, and executed a really good gameplan and won a baseball game,” Lovullo said. “It starts with Mike Leake, who threw the ball exceptionally well and gave us a chance to win a baseball game. He pitched deep into the game, we were able to use two relievers.

“Everybody went out and did what they had to do to win a baseball game.”

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