Sarah's Take: D-backs must overcome Trumbo's injury

Sarah's Take: D-backs must overcome Trumbo's injury

The beginning to the 2014 season hasn't gone the Arizona Diamondbacks' way. On Thursday, Mark Trumbo, their primary offseason acquisition, went on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his foot. This is the last thing that the D-backs needed as they attempt to stay within reach of the National League West-leading Giants.

Last year, if Arizona had not had a midseason collapse, it probably would have been the NL West representative in the playoffs. Besieged with injuries, the team has only won eight of 28 games entering Monday. This poor play wasn't foreseen by anyone, and many baseball people and members of the media thought the D-backs would represent the biggest challenge for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Losing Trumbo hurts the offense. The Diamondbacks obtained Trumbo from the Angels to add power to their lineup. Without him, the team doesn't have a legitimate power threat aside from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Despite what Trumbo says, the doctors project he'll miss considerable time with the injury. The D-backs didn't need more bad news with their dismal beginning to the season.

Since Arizona has had serious problems in their starting rotation, they couldn't afford to have a weaker offense. Already, the D-backs are attempting to revamp their starting rotation to make it more effective.

Any time a team loses the ace of the starting rotation for at least a year even before the season begins, it's difficult for the team to overcome the psychological doubts and believe that they can go to the playoffs. Last year, the D-backs had pitching problems that kept them out of the playoffs, so when they lost Patrick Corbin to Tommy John elbow surgery in March, it was doubly difficult to believe in their competitive ability. It was another psychological blow a couple of days later when they learned that David Hernandez, their eighth inning setup man, needed the same surgery as Corbin.

The D-backs did receive some good news last week as Cody Ross returned to the active roster after recovering from a hip injury. Although Ross doesn't have the same power as Trumbo, he has a better on-base percentage. At the time of the injury, Trumbo was having trouble adjusting to the new league and he was piling up the strikeouts. While Trumbo is learning to play left field, Ross is an experienced outfielder who has played all three outfield positions. Although he is older than Trumbo, he'll help the defense. The improved outfield defense should help the weary pitching staff.

Manager Kirk Gibson must figure out a way to instill confidence in his club. As a player, Gibson never accepted something was impossible. He was a mentally and physically tough player and he was a member of two world championship teams, and the latter were definitely underdogs throughout the season. Gibson didn't let his teammates on the 1988 Dodgers goof around or listen to naysayers. Now he needs to do the same with the D-backs.

Arizona may not have the highest payroll in baseball, but the team certainly has enough talent to compete for a playoff berth this season. Unlike last season, both Aaron Hill and Miguel Montero are healthy and able to contribute to the offense. Goldschmidt, a year removed from being a runner-up in the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting, continues to impress the league with his offensive production.

A couple weeks ago, the Diamondbacks signed free agent Randy Wolf to a Minor League contract. Although the 37-year-old left-handed pitcher isn't as effective as he was earlier in his career, his vast experience in the Major Leagues will help the D-backs' young starting rotation. He should be able to give Arizona quality innings. If their starting rotation can improve, the D-backs should have a better record.

Although the bullpen has worked a lot, it has performed well, considering the difficult circumstances surrounding the team. The 'pen can't keep pitching multiple innings every game and having an average performance.

In the past, many teams have overcome dismal beginnings to the season to finish satisfactorily. Nothing has gone in the D-backs' favor so far this season, but every team has periods like the D-backs have had. Good teams can survive difficult periods. Losing Trumbo is the latest blow for the team. It will be interesting whether Arizona can rebound from a bad start, or if they will have a forgettable season.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.