Should the Diamondbacks Sit Willie Bloomquist for the Rest of the Year?
The Arizona Diamondbacks were socked with a double whammy of bad news on Monday, as outfielder Chris Young and shortstop Willie Bloomquist both went down with injuries in their game against the San Francisco Giants. Young appeared to injure his right quadriceps while running down the first base line, and Bloomquist re-tweaked his back in his first contest back off of the disabled list.
With Young, it seems like his leg will only be a day-to-day thing, but Bloomquist is definitely the more troubling of the two. He has been having issues with his back for months, and the team has made it clear that they are going to rely on him more with the dealing of shortstop Stephen Drew to Oakland in August. Bloomquist’s latest setback has to be a pain in the rear end for GM Kevin Towers, who has got a load on his plate now in terms of trying to replace his presence in the lineup yet again.
The two guys vying for that spot haven’t exactly grabbed it by the horns. In 118 at-bats this season, John McDonald has driven in 14 runs, batted .246, and gotten on base at a .299 clip. Factor that in with his lack of speed (zero stolen bases), and his halfway decent power (12 extra-base hits, including five home runs), and you don’t really have a dynamite candidate who is going to quell the doubts of fans worried about who will take the position that is arguably the most important on the field for a team’s success.
The other contender is Jacob Elmore, who in his MLB infancy hasn’t run roughshod over big league pitching by any stretch. He has batted a meager .178, driven in one run, and struck out four times in 45 at-bats. He looks overmatched in most of his plate appearances, but as anyone will tell you, the only recipe to actually figure out who can hit top-tier hurlers is to keep throwing them out there, so that’s what manager Kirk Gibson is going to be forced to do.
With those guys not dazzling anyone, the real question that arises is whether or not the team should shut Bloomquist down for the remainder of the year. He is hoping to come back this weekend for a series against the San Diego Padres, but why should he bother coming back so soon? They are four games under .500, 11 and a half games out of first place, and only leading the fourth place Padres by four games. Factor all of that in with their 2-8 record over their past 10 games, and you can see that the fat lady has already sung for this team, so what use would it be to rush back a veteran with a back issue at this late stage of the game?
If Towers and Gibson have their wits about them, they will sit Bloomquist down and tell him to go home and recover fully from these issues and try to come back stronger next year. The SS NL West has sailed without the Diamondbacks, and they need to look toward 2013 as the season winds down.