05/23/2002 03:25 am ET
D-Backs lose game and players
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- When a team loses one of its best players, there could be thoughts of a severe downturn in offensive production and a weakening of defense.
Not so with the Arizona Diamondbacks -- at least in theory.
Right-fielder Danny Bautista could be out anywhere from a week to the rest of the season after partially dislocating his left shoulder in an attempt to catch a fly ball against San Francisco Wednesday night in the club's 12-5 loss at Bank One Ballpark.
This one could hurt. Literally.
Bautista has been the D-Backs most consistent hitter all year, and if doctors took an MRI of his bat, they'd see a .325 batting average with six homers and 23 RBIs.
A big part of Arizona's destructive offense is suddenly gone, with NL West rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, coming into town Friday for a three-game series.
But as the D-Backs await the results of an MRI Thursday on Bautista's shoulder to determine damage to soft tissue, outfield mate Luis Gonzalez says the team will miss Bautista, but only to a certain extent.
"We don't consider it a loss," said Gonzalez. "We have other guys capable of doing the job. He's been playing well for us. But we've got (David) Dellucci ready to come back and (Quinton) McCracken and (Jose) Guillen playing well. The strength of our ballclub is the depth that we have on our team.
"Danny will be sore for a while, but the good thing is we have a lot of depth. That's what happened to us last year. Other players were able to pick it up."
McCracken, who made a spectacular catch of a deep David Bell fly ball to right Wednesday while subbing for Bautista, is hitting a healthy .333 this season with three triples and three doubles.
Still, Bautista's injury could have a significant effect on the D-Backs, especially if the shoulder injury requires surgery.
"His arm actually kind of popped out and popped back in," said head athletic trainer Paul Lessard. "We took films, and they are fine on the bones. We worry about soft tissues, the muscles and cartilege. Dr. (Michael) Lee will see him (Thursday) and we'll have the MRI after that."
Manager Bob Brenly is already considering possible moves as he await the verdict.
"Assuming the best case, that it's a day-to-day injury, we'll mix and match with Guillen and McCracken out there," said Brenly. "If it's a longer injury, we'll readdress that and bring somebody up -- an outfielder, infielder, or another pitcher."
Bautista wasn't the only D-Back injured Wednesday night, with starting pitcher Miguel Batista troubled by a burgeoning blister on his throwing hand for several innings before accidentally cutting himself on the thumb with his middle fingernail.
Batista was pulled after three innings, and the game tied 3-3.
"It's going to take some time to heal," said Batista of the blister. "That's worse than the cut. I'll have to wait until the skin grows back. In the bullpen, it was just sensitive, but the blister became bigger and bigger when I was pitching.
"I was ready to pitch," said the right-hander, who had suffered a sinus infection Tuesday and had a slight temperature. "It was a good game for us, then they had to get me out. It's bad. I feel like I was the one who lost the game."
It's not known how long Batista will be out, or if he will miss his next scheduled start.
Meantime, Brenly mused over the fate of his middle relievers Wednesday. Mike Morgan, who took the loss, gave up three runs on two hits, including a homer; Eddie Oropesa issued four hitsw and three runs, including Barry Bonds' 583rd career homer, tying him for fifth place on the all-time list with Mark McGwire.
Greg Swindell yielded four hits and three runs himself.
What a nightmare.
"We've all seen the Nature Channel and a feeding frenzy," said Brenly with a chuckle. "That's what it was tonight. They were hitting everything, and I don't think it would have mattered who was throwing. I consider it an aberration."
Rich Draper covers the Diamondbacks for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.