Abreu leaves game with left wrist sprain
Utility man likely headed to 15-day diasbled list with injury
PHOENIX -- The D-backs were defeated by the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, 12-4, Sunday afternoon, but the hometown team may have lost something much more important: a reliable and hot-hitting utility infielder.
Tony Abreu exited Sunday's game in the top of the fifth inning after suffering a "left wrist sprain," which is putting it mildly.
Postgame, Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said it was "probable" that Abreu would be placed on the 15-day disabled list. Hinch added that Abreu would be evaluated by the team's hand specialist, Dr. Don Sheridan.
Abreu suffered the injury during the Jays' five-run fifth inning, when catcher Jose Molina, the sixth batter to come to the plate, attempted to stretch his run-scoring single into a double and, while sliding into second base, appeared to hit Abreu with the spikes on his cleat. In the process, Abreu's left (glove) hand was bent back, and he immediately began to feel pain in both his wrist and forearm.
Visibly frustrated, Abreu was wearing a wrap on his injured arm when he said he hasn't suffered a similar injury during his career. He added that he wasn't sure if he suffered any broken bones.
While the D-backs' brass has Monday's off-day to milk any decisions, Hinch said likely candidates to replace Abreu on the Major League roster include Triple-A Reno infielders Ryan Roberts and Pedro Ciriaco and recently demoted outfielder Cole Gillespie.
Abreu was making his second start in as many games by subbing for regular starter Kelly Johnson. Reserve Augie Ojeda assumed Abreu's post at second base, and his second slot in the batting order. In the bottom of the fifth, Ojeda singled home Conor Jackson for Arizona's third run of the game.
After going 1-for-4 at the plate in place of shortstop Stephen Drew in Saturday's 8-5 win over the Jays, Abreu scored on Justin Upton's first-inning single on Sunday. Abreu went 1-for-2 at the plate to raise his season batting average to .313 before exiting.
Qualls showing improvement on mound
PHOENIX -- D-backs manager A.J. Hinch hoped to avoid employing Chad Qualls on Sunday afternoon in Arizona's series finale with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. Not because of Qualls' lack of success, precisely the opposite.
Entering Sunday, Qualls had pitched in four straight games, all D-backs victories.
"Five days in a row is five days in a row," Hinch said with a sigh.
Qualls hasn't allowed a run in nine of his past 12 appearances and has converted eight of his last nine save chances, most recently shutting down the Jays in the D-backs' 8-5 victory Saturday night.
"He's pitching in the strike zone a lot better. He's been a little more aggressive," Hinch said of his closer's improvement. "These late-inning relievers, they can get on a roll. Often times, it takes one blown save or one bad outing to cause some insecurity and about three or four to get back. He's pretty good about having a short memory."
Rosales throwing on one leg during recovery
PHOENIX -- Injured Arizona reliever Leo Rosales has been throwing fastballs at 60 to 70 feet -- with his right leg resting on a stool. So the fastballs aren't as fast as usual. Rosales, recovering from a stress fracture in his right ankle, hopes they will regain their velocity soon.
After "walking" from the training room to his Chase Field clubhouse locker, Rosales quipped: "Being on crutches is a workout in itself." That's because Rosales, who has missed the D-backs' past 23 games, has been instructed to completely rest his ailing ankle.
He said he will be re-evaluated on June 1 -- the halfway mark of what he hopes is only an eight-week hiatus -- to start putting pressure on the ankle and test its range of motion.
Rosales compiled a 2-0 record and 8.10 ERA in nine Major League games this season before he was placed on the 15-day disabled list after allowing seven earned runs in an April 28 relief appearance; he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 1.
Rosales suspected he would need at least a couple of bullpen sessions and Minor League rehab appearances to get back on track.
In the meantime, Rosales is able to work out his upper body, his left leg and his right arm -- as long as he's not standing.
D-backs manager A.J. Hinch with an intriguing take on starter Edwin Jackson's command: "He's been just wild enough and just erratic enough to make a guy nervous in the batter's box. He has a couple in the backstop every game; that's kind of good. I wouldn't want to dig in on him." Jackson has walked 20 batters and plunked three in 61 2/3 innings this season. ... Recent D-backs Minor League signee Luis Ayala allowed a solo home run over one inning in his debut Friday at Triple-A Reno.
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.