The Diamondbacks will place catcher Alex Avila on the 10-day IL with a strained left quad, according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. In a corresponding move, the team will recall utilityman Tim Locastro from Triple-A to take Avila’s place on the 25-man roster.
Avila, 32, has made four starts for the Diamondbacks in 2019 and has performed well, slashing .333/.524/.800 in his 21 plate appearances. The veteran backstop has also hit two home runs on the young season and has posted an impressive 6:5 BB:K ratio. Though the results were not as encouraging in 2018, Avila’s first season in Arizona, the team will surely miss his presence behind the plate. However, Avila’s absence will open up opportunities for the team to give more ABs to young catcher Carson Kelly, who was acquired in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. Kelly, blocked by Yadier Molina for his entire career, has amassed just 145 career plate appearances in parts of four big league season, first with the Cardinals and now in Arizona.
Since the D-Backs opened the season carrying three catchers on the 25-man roster, the team didn’t need to replace Avila with another catcher. John Ryan Murphy will assume the backup duties behind Kelly, and Locastro will join the Major League roster as a reserve who can play all three outfield spots and second base. The 26-year-old spent several seasons with the Dodgers before being traded twice this offseason, first to the Yankees, and later to the Diamondbacks, who surrendered Ronald Roman and cash considerations to acquire Locastro. With Jarrod Dyson the team’s fourth outfielder and Ildemaro Vargas slotted in as the backup infielder following Jake Lamb’s injury, it’s unclear how much playing time Locastro will see, though he will afford the D-Backs some flexibility to rest outfielders.