MAY 16: “All options,” including surgery, are a possibility for Devenski, Lovullo said this afternoon (via Zach Buchanan of the Athletic).
MAY 15, 7:05PM: Right-hander Chris Devenski has also been sidelined, as the D’Backs announced that Devenski is headed to the 60-day injured list due to a sprained right UCL. Left-hander Joe Mantiply’s contract has been selected from Triple-A to take Devenski’s place on both the active roster and 40-man roster.
MAY 15, 6:49PM: Both Kelly and manager Torey Lovullo told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jake Rill) that they’re hopeful Kelly will be able to return shortly after his 10-day minimum absence.
MAY 15, 5:48PM: The Diamondbacks announced that catcher Carson Kelly and righty J.B. Bukauskas have been placed on the 10-day injured list. Kelly is suffering from a tuft fracture in his big left toe, while Bukauskas has a right elbow flexor strain. In corresponding moves, right-hander Yoan Lopez was called up from Triple-A and infielder Domingo Leyba’s contract was selected from Triple-A. To create a 40-man roster spot for Leyba, Kole Calhoun was moved to the 60-day IL.
It’s another damaging injury blow to an Arizona team that has placed Zac Gallen, Christian Walker, and Asdrubal Cabrera on the IL just in the last few days, and the D’Backs have already been without Calhoun and Ketel Marte for the majority of the season.
Kelly’s loss is particularly tough, as the catcher has hit a scorching .338/.491/.613 over his first 110 plate appearances of the season. While Kelly has enjoyed some BABIP luck (.344) and isn’t posting memorable hard-hit ball numbers, he is also doing an outstanding job at getting on base and making contact. Kelly’s .491 OBP leads the National League, and he has more walks (23) than strikeouts (16).
Depending on the severity of the fracture, Kelly’s absence could either be relatively short or rather lengthy. Stephen Vogt could now assume starting catching duties with Kelly out, or the D’Backs could explore giving top prospect Daulton Varsho more of a look behind the plate. Since making his MLB debut last season, Varsho has made 11 total appearances at catcher, but he has only played the position once in 2021. Given Varsho’s ability to play the outfield, the Diamondbacks could more or less split his playing time between catcher and outfield whenever Vogt needs a break.
Bukauskas made his Major League debut this season, and has posted an 8.31 ERA out of Arizona’s bullpen over his first 8 2/3 innings in the Show. While the righty has given up a lot of hard contact, his ERA isn’t quite indicative of how he has pitched — Bukauskas has a much more respectable 3.64 SIERA, as he has been hampered by an abnormally low 54.8% strand rate and an abnormally high .433 BABIP. Bukauskas the 15th overall pick of the 2017 draft, and was sent to the D’Backs from the Astros as part of the Zack Grienke trade in 2019.
Leyba was also a trade pickup for Arizona, coming to the organization from the Tigers along with Robbie Ray as part of the three-team trade in 2014 that saw Shane Greene go to Detroit and Didi Gregorius to the Yankees. Leyba made a solid accounting of him by hitting .280/.367/.440 in 30 PA during his 2019 rookie season, but missed all of 2020 due to an 80-game PED suspension.
Leyba has plenty of experience as a shortstop, second baseman, and third baseman, so he represents a versatile asset for the Diamondbacks as they figure out how to juggle their roster amidst all these injuries. Speculatively, Leyba could provide infield depth if Josh Rojas sees more time in the outfield on account of Varsho getting more catching starts.