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Diamondbacks hope to be at full strength vs. Twins

Sportsnaut
Jun 6, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4) runs off the field as a rain delay is called in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks could be without standout second baseman Ketel Marte when they open up a three-game home set against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night in Phoenix.

Marte departed Wednesday’s 7-4 home victory over the Cincinnati Reds after feeling tightness in his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning. He was replaced in the field for the final three outs.

There was immediate concern because Marte was limited to just 90 games last season, mostly due to multiple hamstring injuries.

“Ketel felt something I think in his right hamstring, so just for precautionary reasons I decided to get him off the field,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told reporters. “That was my decision.

“He walked behind me and said, ‘I felt a little tightness.’ The trainer came over and confirmed it and he could have played but I decided to take him off the field.”

Marte, 28, is batting .269 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in 61 games this season. He was an All-Star in 2019 when he hit a career-best .329 while also establishing career highs of 32 homers and 92 RBIs.

Arizona will hope it won’t be without Marte, as the club has won just four of its past 12 games.

Minnesota has won four of its past six games as it plays the final three games of a six-game road trip. The Twins won two of three in Seattle to open the excursion.

Minnesota has won three of its last four series, including sets against the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays.

“We’ve been playing pretty good against some good teams, actually, which is very impressive,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Honestly, I’ve been very impressed with our group.”

One of the key figures has been utility player Luis Arraez, who leads the majors with a .354 batting average. Arraez has one four-hit game, one-three hit game and three two-hit games already this month.

The 25-year-old Arraez is a flashback to earlier eras as only eight of his 69 hits have gone for extra bases.

“I just only try to be hitting line drives,” Arraez said. “That’s how I (contribute).”

Arraez has been starting at second base this week while Minnesota awaits word on the sore back of starter Jorge Polanco. The Twins were concerned enough to have Polanco undergo an MRI exam since he endured major back pain late last year and had an MRI after the season.

“No significant differences in his MRI, so that was a positive,” Baldelli said. “He’s still feeling the tightness.”

Polanco last played on Sunday. He is batting .245 with seven homers and 33 RBIs in 58 games.

Madison Bumgarner (2-6, 3.50 ERA) will make his 14th start of the season for the Diamondbacks.

The 32-year-old left-hander is 0-5 over his last six outings. Bumgarner has a 5.03 ERA during the stretch and has served up seven homers.

He lasted five innings against the Philadelphia Phillies last Saturday and gave up three runs (one earned) and six hits during a 4-0 setback.

Bumgarner is 1-1 with an 11.05 ERA in two career starts against Minnesota. Carlos Correa is 2-for-11 with a homer against Bumgarner from his time with the Houston Astros.

The Twins will counter with right-hander Devin Smeltzer (3-0, 2.38), who is making his seventh start of the season.

Smeltzer, 26, defeated the Tampa Bay Rays on June 10 when he gave up three runs and four hits — including three solo homers — in six innings. It marked the most runs he has allowed this season.

Smeltzer has never faced the Diamondbacks.

–Field Level Media