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Diamondbacks Game Preview #61: 6/11 @ Phillies

The return of Carson Kelly

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS PHILLIES
Daulton Varsho - DH Kyle Schwarber - LF
Pavin Smith - RF Rhys Hoskins - 1B
Josh Rojas - 3B Bryce Harper - DH
Christian Walker - 1B Nick Castellanos - RF
David Peralta - LF J.T. Realmuto - C
Alek Thomas - CF Alec Bohm - 3B
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Odubel Herrera - CF
Jake Hager - 2B Matt Vierling - 2B
Jose Herrera - C Bryson Stott - SS
M. Bumgarner - LHP Zack Wheeler - RHP

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Reinstated C Carson Kelly from the 10-day injured list (strained left oblique).
  • Optioned OF Cooper Hummel to Triple-A Reno following last night’s game.

An interesting move for Arizona. The departure of Hummel does tend to suggest that Daulton Varsho will be moving back to the outfield as his regular spot. Kelly will become the main catcher, with Herrera as his backup - and, as this afternoon’s line-up shows, will remain as Madison Bumgarner’s personal catcher. Herrera has caught 10 of MadBum’s 12 starts to date, with Kelly and Varsho doing one each. Carson’s was on Opening Day, when Bumgarner lasted only three inning, and it appears that something may have happened with that battery to prevent it being used going forward. I would still expect Kelly to be the primary catcher going forward.

However, the bigger question is, whether Kelly’s bat will improve. At the time he went on the disabled list, Kelly was off to a truly wretched start at the plate. Over 20 games, he had been hitting .105/.150/.123 for a .273 OPS - that a -20 OPS+ which is genuinely impressive, just not in a good way, of course. Considering he came in to this season with a perfectly respectable career .721 OPS, you have to wonder if there was some kind of prior health problem that had been having a knock-on effect at the plate. The strained left oblique which put him on the Injured List was originaly diagnosed as a Grade 1, the least severe, but the fact he missed close to six weeks suggest it wasn’t that mild.

At the time he went on the IL, Kelly was asked about the cause of his struggles, whether it was mechanical, his approach, etc. and seemed to think it was “a combination of everything. But I also think mental. I think when you have the start that I’ve had, it wears on you.... Obviously, you never want to be hurt, but there are positives that come with it. Maybe a little bit of a mental reset, a physical reset, would be good for me. I’m going to take every day and get back to what I do well. Think of my core beliefs and things like that and go from there.” On his rehab stint in Reno, he went 6-for-17 with two homers, four walks and only one K. Usual caveat: it’s Reno. But a working Kelly would certainly be a nice help.