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Diamondbacks Team Health Report 2012

Since Ken Crenshaw came over to the D'backs from the Rays, the team has been among the healthiest in baseball. If Brandon Webb didn't exist -- or hadn't been kept around as long after he was injured -- the rankings would actually be better. The unassuming Crenshaw is the D'backs' secret weapon and one of the main reasons they team was able to make a surprising playoff run in 2011. There's only two ways to win in baseball -- put talent on the field and keep it there. The D'backs did that as well as anyone last season. Still, the team has accepted a lot of risk under Kevin Towers, from JJ Putz and Aaron Hill to free agent OF Jason Kubel, who won't have the DH slot to fall back on in Arizona. If Crenshaw can keep the injury stats down with this increased risk profile, he'll be the team's MVP.

Health Keys: Don't allow risky new players to drop quickly. Getting Stephen Drew back to level.

(HEAD TRAINER: Ken Crenshaw; FIVE YEAR RANK: 3; 2011 RANK: 5)
For explanation of these ratings, click here
GREEN LIGHT
1B Paul Goldschmidt
3B Ryan Roberts
CF Chris Young
SP Joe Saunders
YELLOW LIGHT
C Miguel Montero
Montero is a low yellow for a catcher. He tends to get days off against lefties, which keeps his workload down. It was a career-high plus the playoffs, so there could be some fatigue.

RF Justin Upton
Upton had the same shoulder laxity that his brother had, but he elected to rehab rather than have surgery. The medical staff spent much of the previous offseason and spring training focused on strengthening the shoulder. There was a risk that the strategy would backfire and surgery would cost him time during the season. There was also a risk that Upton would lose flexibility. Instead, he got stronger as the season went on and upped his contact rate. Success! Keeping Upton healthy is still a challenge, but without him, the D'backs don't play in October.

SP Ian Kennedy
Kennedy was coming off a big innings increase in 2010, but one thing I noted in last year's THR was that the Yankees were so conservative with him, it might have been counterproductive. One thing we know is that pitchers on a "leash" often are working on the side and don't get over-fatigued. I also noted that having Crenshaw monitoring fatigue probably trumps even Tom Verducci's best ideas.

SP Trevor Cahill
Cahill is young to have back-to-back 190-plus IP seasons on his stat line. He was a bit unlucky last season in the same way he was lucky in '10. Things even out, and at either level, he's a very useful pitcher. The risk is more long term than short.

P5 Josh Collmenter
His delivery came from throwing tomahawks. Seriously. Keeping Collmenter (and the rest of the rotation) healthy is key so that Trevor Bauer isn't pushed too quickly, not that he's far away. The risk gets higher if Collmenter is pushed much past 180 innings.

RP Takashi Saito
Saito might be a trivia question someday. He's the first known MLB player to have PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy. It worked well enough to avoid Tommy John surgery and he's been pitching well since. He's hardly a dominant closer and needs constant maintenance, but he's had it in Milwaukee and will have the same in Arizona.

CL J.J. Putz
Putz came to Arizona and got healthy. Hmm. Have you figured out by now that it's probably not a coincidence? There's still risk, but not an unmanageable one

RED LIGHT
2B Aaron Hill
Hill's a low red, largely on the concussion that sidelined him after a breakout campaign. That's a pretty singular event and it's hard to say that any of the slide after that has anything to do with the concussion, but in the absence of an idea beyond regression to the mean, it's risk. Red means risk, not certainty.

SS Stephen Drew
Everyone remembers Buster Posey's ankle injury, but Drew's was about as ugly. From a physical standpoint, it may have been worse. Drew is still having trouble with lateral mobility and running the bases, which mean his days as a shortstop might be over. He could shift to 3B, but that would set a series of moves falling like dominoes. Even before the ankle, Drew was dealing with the kind of injuries that reminded us that despite an early career that was pretty healthy, he is a real Drew.

LF Jason Kubel
Kubel didn't DH as much as most think (42 and 37 times in 2010-11) but he won't have even that safety net this season. Instead, Kirk Gibson will have to spot Kubel out, which shouldn't be too hard with Gerardo Parra available. I doubt Gibson will have any issues with the strategy, and if Kubel plays 120 games plus pinch hitting, I doubt he will either.

SP Daniel Hudson
Hudson is coming off a massive innings increase, but he never seemed to struggle even in the playoffs. He's a very solid P2 with upside, so while I'm worried about the increase and think the red rating is correct, I'm willing to acknowledge that Crenshaw and his staff seem to be able to get better than expected results.

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