The Arizona Diamondbacks reinstated C Jeff Mathis (fractured right hand) from the 10-day disabled list, and he will be active for tonight’s game at Kansas City Royals. Arizona now has 36 players on its active roster and the 40-man roster remains at 40.
Mathis, 34, suffered the injury on Aug. 21 when the Mets’ Dominic Smith fouled a ball off Mathis’s right hand in the fourth inning. At the time of the injury, he had caught a team-high 56 games (55 starts) with 35.7 caught stealing percentage (10 caught stealing in 28 attempts), which currently ranks seventh in the Majors [min. 50 games], and a 3.55 catchers ERA, which ranks eighth [min. 200.0 innings].
Mathis will be starting tonight’s game in Kansas Cirty against the Royals, though is only expected to catch a few innings before being replaced. What will be more interesting is whether he will be catching Wednesday’s wild-card game at Chase Field, where Zack Greinke is expected to start. Mathis had been Greinke’s “personal catcher” up until the point of the catcher’s injury. Since then, Chris Iannetta took over, but there had not necessarily been a lot of difference in the results. Greinke’s ERA with Mathis catching was 3.16, while in the seven games with Iannetta catching, it has been 3.38 - up until the last couple of starts, it was actually lower.
Iannetta would likely bring superior offense as well, although Mathis had been hitting an awful lot better of late. Over the last 25 games before going on the disabled list, Mathis had a line of .289/.372/.373 for a perfectly respectable .746 OPS. However, that came only after reaching a season low batting average of .150 on June 13, so the overall numbers for the year are still unimpressive, with an OPS of only .599. Given Mathis hasn’t even been able to have any kind of minor-league rehab assignment, due to their seasons being over, I would imagine his timing at the plate is going to require more than a couple of games to return. But that’ll be a decision for Torey Lovullo.
Who should catch the wild card game for the Diamondbacks
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