No sign of Geoff Blum in the line-up again this afternoon - he hasn't appeared since March 12, as it appears his right knee is continuing to give him problems. The issue was first reported on the 16th, when Steve Gilbert described Blum as "day-to-day", with the veteran infielder not concerned at that point. "I just strained it a couple of days ago and it swelled up a little bit. So we're going to wait for the swelling to go down a little bit, limit the activity for the next few days and then get after it again.
However, another week has gone by, and he still isn't playing. Indeed, if anything, things have got worse....Nick Piecoro was the first to notice that, during Monday's broadcast, Kevin Towers was much less optimistic about Blum's progress:
Towers said during Monday's broadcast that Blum already has had two injections of gel "that works as a lubricant for the knee." "It's kind of bone on bone," Towers said. "The alternative isn't good. If that doesn't work it probably means microfracture surgery, which would keep him out for the year." Towers said in an e-mail late Tuesday afternoon that he hadn't heard the results of Blum's trip to the doctor.
If you've heard of microfracture surgery before, it's because it's something which a couple of Diamondbacks went through after the 2007 season - Doug Slaten and Chad Tracy. We wrote about the process that winter - Slaten made it back for the start of the following campaign, but Tracy was, sadly, never the same player again [OPS prior to the surgery = 104, OPS afterward = 77]. If that route does prove necessary, as Towers notes, it will be the end of Blum's 2011.
Counting up the 13 position spots, we have the following. Starters: Miranda (1B), Johnson (2B), Drew (SS), Mora (3B), LF, Young (CF), Upton (RF). Almost certainly guaranteed roster spots would be: Blanco (C), Branyan (1B), Bloomquist (IF) and Parra (OF). That leaves LF and one bench spot open. If Blum is no longer a candidate for the latter, the most likely replacements would seem to be Tony Abreu or Ryan Roberts, though if Xavier Nady is still give the left-field spot, Brandon Allen could join the mix.