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Newly arrived Arizona SS Gregorius shut down by injury

Associated Press

2/12/2013 1:44:51 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Didi Gregorius, considered Arizona's shortstop of the future, has a right elbow injury that has prevented him from throwing or batting for the past month.

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers revealed the injury at a briefing with reporters Tuesday.

He said Gregorius felt discomfort in the elbow while working out a month ago in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Gregorius was flown from his home in Curacao to Arizona, where an examination found a slight strain of the ulnar collateral ligament, Towers said.

He said that the injury does not require surgery and that Gregorius should be able to begin light throwing and hitting off a tee in a couple of weeks.

Towers conceded it is unlikely Gregorius would make the opening day roster.

"I think it was probably a longshot anyway," Towers said. "We wanted him to come up and compete with (Cliff) Pennington and Johnny Mac (McDonald) and Willie (Bloomquist), but he's got less than a full season at Double-A or Triple-A and less than a month in the big leagues."

Gregorius was acquired from Cincinnati by Arizona as part of the three-team trade that sent right-hander Trevor Bauer, a former No. 1 overall pick in the draft, from the Diamondbacks to Cleveland. The 22-year-old shortstop already is considered major league ready defensively but not necessarily at the plate.

"With the glove and stuff he's ready right now," Towers said, "but it's not going to hurt him to get more ABs (at-bats) probably in the minor leagues before he's up here. We don't view him as a bench player so when he comes up here we want him to play. We've got a couple of good veterans this year that can handle the position."

The search for a shortstop that could fill the spot long-term consumed much of Towers' off-season, including attempts to nab one in any deal involving Justin Upton. The trade of Upton to Atlanta brought versatile infielder Martin Prado to Arizona. He's expected to play third base, another area of need for the Diamondbacks.

Gregorius, who turns 23 next Monday, appeared in eight games for the Reds last season with six hits in 20 at-bats.

He appeared in 48 games for Triple-A Louisville last season, hitting .243. Before that, he spent 81 games with Double-A Pensacola last year, with a .278 average.

The Amsterdam-born infielder had planned to play for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic but obviously now that won't happen.

Gregorius was working out to get ready for the WBC, Towers said, when he noted something in his arm "didn't feel quite right."

Gregorius' adviser called the Diamondbacks, who decided to fly the youngster to Arizona to be examined by team physician Dr. Michael Lee. The verdict was that if there had to be an injury in the elbow, this was a good one to have, Towers said.

"It doesn't need Tommy John, it doesn't need to be surgically repaired," Towers said. "It's just Dr. Lee felt it would be good to shut him down from swinging a bat or throwing for four to six weeks. It's probably been almost a month now."

Towers said Lee decided "more than likely he should be ready to start the major league season or the minor league season, if not it would be shortly thereafter."

"It's nothing we're overly concerned about," Towers said, "but with a new player here and no history with the player (we're) just trying to err on the side of being cautious more than anything."