D-backs skipper cautiously optimistic after Mike Leake injury

Feb 13, 2020, 2:55 PM
Starting pitcher Mike Leake #8 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a warm-up pitch during the first ...
Starting pitcher Mike Leake #8 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a warm-up pitch during the first inning of the MLB game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field on August 06, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo isn’t hitting the panic button — at most, he’s got his finger hovering over it.

An MRI revealed that Arizona starting pitcher Mike Leake’s non-throwing wrist will require at least two weeks to heal after the right-hander injured an old fracture while chasing his dog at home, he told reporters. Leake added that he should be ready to play by Opening Day, March 26.

As of Thursday afternoon, Lovullo isn’t preparing to take drastic measures as he attempts to line up his starting rotation. He’s also not not doing so.

“When you’re talking about this diagnosis, I would say that (my concern) is not minimal,” Lovullo said. “I’m not there yet. Sitting down talking to him, he’s a tough player, he’s a tough man. I think he wants to get out there and perform and fight through some of the obstruction that may be in front of him.”

The D-backs are still weighing what Leake will be able to do during the two-week break. While he might be able to keep his right throwing arm active, going through groundball drills or lifting do not sound in the cards as he rests his left wrist.

“For two weeks, we’re going to try to get some range of motion back in that area, get it strong and get him back moving in the right direction,” Lovullo said. “For two weeks there’s going to be limited baseball activity.

“I think everybody is defining what he can and can’t do through the next two weeks. With it being his left wrist, there are going to be some baseball functions he can do. We haven’t defined that yet.”

Arizona has the arms capable of replacing Leake. Lovullo unsurprisingly hinted that free-agent addition Madison Bumgarner will start Opening Day.

Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly could fill out a five-man rotation after all holding down starting roles for the D-backs in 2019. Alex Young, Taylor Clarke and Jon Duplantier — all major-league contributors from a year ago — have the stuff to get stretched out as starters and could use a strong spring to make their case for a rotation spot.

As for how that competition unfolds, Lovullo said that the Leake injury discovered Wednesday as pitchers and catchers reported does not change how he approaches evaluating those players fighting for rotation gigs.

“At this point, no. I’m going to carry on like Mike will be available,” Lovullo said. “I know that he’s very optimistic he’ll be ready on Opening Day. I want to be fair to those conversations and be as honest as I possibly can, whether he’s involved or not.

“These guys will know where they stand regardless of what Mike’s situation is.”

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