Utilityman Wilmer Flores isn’t the most heavily deployed player in Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo’s stable, but it’s been nonetheless strange to see the veteran–who is hitting .421 in sixteen August games–sit out since Tuesday’s game against the Rockies. The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro now sheds a little light on that curious state of affairs, as the scribe relays that Flores has been dealing with a back issue (link). Apparently, Flores doesn’t consider the ailment “overly serious”, and Lovullo informed Piecoro that the former Met has been available over the last few days.
That the club is exercising caution with Flores is interesting, considering that Arizona holds a $6MM option on Flores’s multidimensional services next year. It’s possible that the club is nursing Flores and his injured back with an eye on keeping him in the club’s employ next year–then again, it’s just as possible that the sliding club, with a 3-7 record in their last ten games, is simply playing out the string on what promises to be a developmentally oriented close to the 2019 season.
More notes from around the left coast…
- Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano will get at-bats in Arizona in the next several days, according to information from manager Bob Melvin relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser (link). Laureano has been out since July 28th with a leg injury, and previous reports indicated that he would get some at-bats with High-A Stockton before ultimately being activated. In his first extended big league look, Laureano provided the club with 419 at-bats of .284/.334/.518 production in 2019 while doing some nice things on the outfield grass (his 8 outfield assists rank him 3rd among centerfielders).
- Mariners great Felix Hernandez returned to big league confines on Saturday, drawing standing ovations from fans while dialing up 5.2 innings of two-run ball in a 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays. While it was a welcome return for M’s fans, it did mean that lefty Wade LeBlanc would be transitioning back into a multi-inning relief role. LeBlanc has gamely offered the Mariners 8 starts and 21 appearances in 2019, although the 5.52 ERA he’s amassed in 109.1 innings goes a long way toward explaining his demotion back to a bullpen-only role moving forward.