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MLB: Diamondbacks battle injury bug ahead of finale vs. Nats

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The Arizona Diamondbacks will look to split their four-game series against the Washington Nationals in Washington, D.C., on Sunday after losing the last two games.

Washington, coming off a 14-hit performance in Saturday’s 6-2 win, will try to win its second consecutive series after starting the season 1-5.

Arizona, which has only one series win through its first 15 games, has lost four of its last five.

The Diamondbacks will take the field without center fielder Tim Locastro, who suffered an open dislocated left pinky on Saturday that required four stitches. He will be placed on the 10-day injured list.

Arizona acquired center fielder Nick Heath from the Kansas City Royals before Saturday’s game in exchange for minor league right-hander Eduardo Herrera. Heath must go through the COVID-19 testing protocol to be eligible to play Sunday.

“There are a lot of moving parts to it, but we do feel like it is a possibility,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of Heath being in the lineup.

If Heath is unable to play, Lovullo will stick with Pavin Smith in center field. He moved Smith from first base to center after Locastro suffered the injury in the third inning while trying to steal second base. Smith, who had never played center in his major league or minor league career before this season, made a diving catch.

Washington catcher Yan Gomes threw out Locastro, ending Locastro’s major league-record streak of 28 consecutive stolen bases to start a career without getting caught. Locastro’s left pinky jammed against second base on his dive.

Asked about putting a stop to the run, Gomes, who had three hits including a home run, said with a smile: “I kind of feel bad that I did.”

Heath opened the season at the Royals’ alternate training site and was designated for assignment April 14. He made his major league debut last year with the Royals and was 2-for-13 in 15 games.

Arizona is now down two center fielders. Ketel Marte suffered a strained right hamstring on April 7 and Locastro played every inning of every game since.

Sunday’s starting pitchers are veterans looking for their first wins this season — Arizona left-hander Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 11.20 ERA) and Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg (0-1, 6.30).

Bumgarner is 3-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 career starts against Washington. He has 65 strikeouts and 11 walks in 67 innings against the Nationals.

Strasburg has started 13 times against the Diamondbacks in his career and compiled a 5-5 record with a 4.74 ERA, 70 strikeouts and 21 walks in 74 innings.

Washington veteran left-handed reliever Luis Avilan on Thursday sustained a ligament tear in his pitching elbow and was put on the injured list. He threw 39 pitches in two innings against Arizona in the series opener.

He could have Tommy John surgery or “sit out and see if it heals,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.

Another Washington reliever, Wander Suero, was taken out after facing a batter in the ninth inning Saturday and grabbing his left side. He had an MRI after game and the results won’t be known until Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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