SAN DIEGO -- The 2019 season is over for D-backs All-Star Ketel Marte, who was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his back.
“Good prognosis,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. “The treatment is rest for the early part of the offseason. We expect a full recovery.”
Marte was leaned on heavily by the D-backs this year. He was asked to play center field, a position he had played just twice before in the big leagues, as well as second base and occasionally shortstop.
The team will examine what might have caused the injury so it can avoid a similar situation with Marte in 2020.
“We’re going to investigate positional stuff, bouncing in and out of shortstop and second base, that type of stuff,” Hazen said. “Preemptive maintenance plans, like could we prepare now better for this moving forward to make sure that volume [of playing time] in the future doesn’t creep up on us again. Those types of things.”
Marte, 25, had a breakout season, producing a .329/.389/.592 slash line this year with 32 homers, 36 doubles and a 7.1 fWAR.
When asked Wednesday, Marte said he thinks playing center as much as he has (96 games) is what may have caused the back to flare up. He also cited the possibility that the playing on the new synthetic grass at Chase Field may have played a role.
“It’s really about my first year playing in center field,” he said. “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.”
As for the synthetic grass, which replaced the natural grass this season, Hazen said the team will continue to look at whether there are any changes in approach that need to be made.
“We haven’t had a lot of lower leg injuries this year playing on that surface,” Hazen said. “It may have taken a toll. The surface has played well. I think it’s played pretty true. It was the first year we had it. Like anything else we implement, we’re going to try to learn about it. We’ll make adjustments where we need to make adjustments.”
At various times over the last couple of months, Marte has had issues either with hamstring or lower-back tightness, something manager Torey Lovullo has said could have been from playing so often.
“I think it was just an accumulation of the pounding and the year he’s had,” Lovullo said. “I had a tiny conversation with him about it, and he said that his hips have been a little bit sore and tired. And I think that’s all tied into that low back area.”
Weaver to start Saturday
D-backs right-hander Luke Weaver will get the starting nod Saturday, his first appearance in the big leagues since May 26, when he was forced to leave his start against the Giants after experiencing discomfort in his forearm.
After further testing, Weaver was diagnosed with a mild right flexor pronator strain and a mild right UCL sprain.
Weaver will be limited to around 30 pitches Saturday. He threw 28 pitches Sept. 13 in a rehab outing for Class A Advanced Visalia in the California League playoffs.
The D-backs elected to start him rather than pitch in relief because they want him to stay in his usual routine as much as possible.
“Starting Luke will give us an opportunity to watch his pregame preparation, allow him to come to the ballpark the way he’s used to and give him that certain comfort level that he’s accustomed to with all the starts that he’s made for us,” Lovullo said.
Weaver will take the place of right-hander Zac Gallen, who has thrown 171 1/3 innings this year between the Majors and Minor Leagues. His previous high for innings in a season came when he threw 147 2/3 innings during the 2017 Minor League regular season and then another 10 in the playoffs.