Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has a right pec strain and will open the season on the disabled list, according to manager Torey Lovullo (via Nick Pecoro of AZ Central Sports). Lovullo expects Souza to be out of the lineup for “a couple of weeks, at least.” The soon-to-be 29-year-old Souza left Wednesday’s game after diving for a baseball in the outfield.
Needless to say, this is certainly isn’t what the Diamondbacks had planned for when they acquired Souza in a three-team trade with the Yankees and Rays earlier in the winter. Arizona gave up left-hander Anthony Banda and two players to be named later in order to acquire the free-swinging slugger, who’s coming off his best season as a major-leaguer. Though he managed just a .239 batting average last season (in part due to a 29% strikeout rate), he got on base at a .351 clip and crushed 30 homers while contributing 16 stolen bases for Tampa Bay.
It’s unclear exactly how long the club expects Souza to be out. Lovullo says that the club will “give the injury time to define itself”, which is of course incredibly vague. Zach Buchanan of The Athletic tweets that Lovullo “slipped in” mid-May to a later answer about the outfielder’s timeline. Regardless, it seems almost like good news for Souza, as it was initially thought that he may have suffered a shoulder injury. His absence from the opening day roster will open up an opportunity for more playing time for both Yasmany Tomas and Jarrod Dyson at the start of the season.
Souza was drafted and developed by the Nationals, who picked him in the third round of the 2007 draft, then later traded him to the Padres in exchange for Joe Ross and a player-to-be-named-later that ended up being Trea Turner. The righty-hitting outfielder has played in parts of four major league seasons, slashing .236/.325/.426 for his career to go along with 65 dingers and 35 steals.