An MRI taken early Friday showed no structural damage, and Carroll and Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said it mirrored all previous assessments of the right shoulder that was surgically repaired after the outfielder had a torn labrum in May 2021.
Carroll came out Thursday night against the New York Mets after a swing, the second time in a week he left due to pain in the shoulder.
“We got some unbelievable news,” Lovullo said Friday before Arizona faced the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It’s exactly the same as every other MRI we’ve taken in the last couple years. It was a rough morning waiting, but it was great news.”
But tests administered by the training staff on Thursday night — and an MRI on Friday morning — put Carroll’s concerns to rest, as did watching a replay of the swing, in which he said he put his body in an unusual position.
Manager Torey Lovullo described what Carroll felt as being similar to a “stinger,” an injury that is common for football players. Carroll said the medical staff he met with helped explain what it was he might have felt.
Carroll said Lovullo had initially planned to have him out of the lineup but that he “pushed for it a little bit” to play in Friday’s series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lovullo said there were a number “checkpoints” that went into that decision, starting with the MRI and progressing into the swings Carroll took in the cage hours before game time. Carroll said he felt “no inflammation or feelings of tightness or anything like that.”
In the immediate aftermath, Carroll worried he wouldn’t be able to play in next week’s All-Star Game, which is being played in his hometown of Seattle. Now, it appears, he is expected to be available to play after all. He was voted a starting outfielder for the National League.
“I want him to play in that game so bad,” Lovullo said. “and it’s all falling back into place for him.”
For the second time in a week, the Diamondbacks consider themselves fortunate to have avoided serious injury with their franchise player, who has been among the best players in the NL this year. Carroll is hitting .290 with 18 homers and 24 steals.
Lovullo said couldn’t stop worrying about Carroll’s well-being over the final two innings on Thursday night’s game — and he admitted he thought about what his extended absence might mean to his club.
“I’d be a liar if I told you I wasn’t thinking about it,” Lovullo said. “He’s got about a 4 WAR (wins above replacement) for a reason. He’s very tough to replace. I don’t know what we would have done, but we would have figured it out. Somebody would have stepped up.
Just to be sure, Carroll underwent an MRI on Friday morning that showed no issues in the shoulder and, after Carroll reported no pain in the general area, the star outfielder was in the starting lineup for the D-backs’ 7-3 win over the Pirates on Friday, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.
It turns out the shoulder did not pop out, with Lovullo likening Carroll’s sensation to a football stinger.
The D-backs had plenty to compare the MRI to, as Carroll went through numerous MRIs in the spring when he signed his contract extension with the club. There were plenty prior to that, too, as Carroll recovered from surgery to repair a posterior capsular avulsion and labrum tear early in the 2021 season.
“He has a surgically repaired shoulder and when something isn’t exactly right I think he because he feel and understand things it throws him off,” Lovullo said.
Carroll is batting .290 with 18 homers, 46 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 83 games. He is the leading National League Rookie of the Year candidate and is being mentioned in the MVP race.
Carroll is also looking forward to Tuesday’s All-Star Game, which is in his hometown of Seattle.
Arizona also made a slew of moves on Friday by promoting outfielder Dominic Canzone and right-hander Justin Martinez from Triple-A Reno, optioning outfielder Dominic Fletcher to Reno, placing right-hander Drey Jameson (elbow) on the 15-day injured list and designating left-hander Konnor Pilkington for assignment.
Lovullo said he was concerned about Jameson, who pitched three innings of relief during Thursday’s game against the Mets. “Just going through it and feeling these things just provides a frame of reference I guess for anything that might happen in the future,” Carroll said.
Typical of Carroll, after he got the MRI in the morning and heard that things looked good, he beat just about everyone to the ballpark to he could test it out in the cage.
When he passed that test, everyone in the organization breathed a sigh of relief, especially Lovullo who had contemplated what it would have meant to be without his best player for a prolonged period of time.
“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t thinking about it,” Lovullo said. “He’s very tough to replace. I don’t know what we would have done but we would have figured it out and somebody was stepped up. You talk about replacing elite players and I don’t know if you can do it. You just have to ask guys to step in and do their job. Asked if he had acted before, De La Cruz laughed and responded, “Just by myself, yeah, I’ve been an actor.”
De La Cruz is batting .325 in 27 games with four homers, 14 RBI, 12 stolen bases and 25 runs scored.
The Reds were 27-33 when De La Cruz was promoted from Triple-A Chattanooga on June 6. Since then, the club has rocketed into first place, going 22-6 and carrying a two-game lead over Milwaukee into this weekend’s series. He has started 27 of the Reds’ 28 games since his debut.
De La Cruz touched on why he wears No. 44 — made famous by Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.
“It’s just an honor to have that number and to wear this same number that a lot of legends in this game have worn in the past,” De La Cruz said. “It’s just an honor.”
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