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Souza sidelined until May with pectoral strain

D-backs right fielder sustains injury attempting to make diving catch
Special to MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As he found himself unable to get back onto his feet in right field at Salt River Fields on Wednesday, Arizona outfielder Steven Souza Jr. couldn't help but think of the worst. It's not the worst, though his official debut in a D-backs uniform will be delayed.

Souza, acquired earlier this spring in a trade with the Rays to help offset the loss of J.D. Martinez, suffered a right pectoral strain and will be out of game action for a couple of weeks "at least," manager Torey Lovullo said on Thursday. He could conceivably return to the D-backs by mid-May, a significantly shorter recovery time than had it been an injury to his labrum, clavicle or rotator cuff.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As he found himself unable to get back onto his feet in right field at Salt River Fields on Wednesday, Arizona outfielder Steven Souza Jr. couldn't help but think of the worst. It's not the worst, though his official debut in a D-backs uniform will be delayed.

Souza, acquired earlier this spring in a trade with the Rays to help offset the loss of J.D. Martinez, suffered a right pectoral strain and will be out of game action for a couple of weeks "at least," manager Torey Lovullo said on Thursday. He could conceivably return to the D-backs by mid-May, a significantly shorter recovery time than had it been an injury to his labrum, clavicle or rotator cuff.

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"When you see him get hurt and walk off the way he did, you feel for the player, and then you kind of sort through your own thoughts and expect the worst," Lovullo said. "When you get the news like this, you become very encouraged."

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The 28-year-old suffered the injury diving for an eventual Brandon Belt two-run double in the top of the fourth inning of a 14-0 loss to the Giants, and Souza was initially diagnosed with a shoulder strain before undergoing an MRI on Thursday. He is expected to be down and unable to perform baseball activities for at least a "week or so, or two," according to Souza.

"After last night, I was obviously in quite a bit of pain," Souza said. "You never really know what to think in those situations. ... I landed and felt a little thing in my shoulder, maybe a cramp but not that much pain or anything. When I got up to get the ball, my chest didn't want to cooperate. I felt my pec start to grab, so I just rolled over. I knew it wasn't right."

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Lovullo said Souza approached him in his office to offer his remorse for missing time, which he quickly rebuffed.

"It kind of floored me, because here is one of our best athletes, one of our best players saying he was sorry for playing hard," Lovullo said. "I told him to never do that again."

The task of replacing Souza is still a work in progress, Lovullo said.

"We're built for this," the skipper said. "We're built for moments like this. It's going to create opportunities for guys to step in and maybe have a little bit of a different role and cover for Steven while he's gone. That's what a team does.

"We've prepared this team for some depth moments, and we have some candidates now, guys that are very deserving of the nod to pick up Steven."

Utility man Chris Owings had to make his Spring Training debut in right field a little sooner than he expected, stepping in for the injured Souza to complete the game on Wednesday.

Owings, who was originally slated to play right field for the first time this spring in a start against the Indians on Friday, hit leadoff and played right field in Thursday's game against the White Sox. The 26-year-old logged 202 2/3 innings in the outfield in 2017 and he's also expected to juggle second base, third base and shortstop this season. Owings is one of several options the club could use to fill in for Souza.

"I'm just trying to get back out there [in the outfield]," Owings said of his preparation. "I'm going there and taking reads out in batting practice. Torey told me I was going to be playing out there regardless of what happened last night. This has been planned, but it just so happened that I was in the game, I was playing, and they said, 'Hey, why don't you just go out there and play right now?' It just kind of moved things up a little bit."

Jarrod Dyson, who signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal this offseason, is projected to be the club's fourth outfielder and could see some time in right field as well. 

In addition to Owings, potential third catcher Chris Herrmann has experience manning a corner-outfield role. Yasmany Tomas, the second-highest paid player on the club but considered unlikely to make the Opening Day roster after an injury-marred 2017, could earn a spot with the club and man left field, shifting leadoff hitter David Peralta back to right field, where he primarily played last year.

Fabian Ardaya is a contributor for MLB.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Steven Souza Jr.