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Carson Kelly Out Several Weeks With Fractured Forearm

Kelly suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch in yesterday's Spring Training win over the Chicago White Sox

Carson Kelly was hit by a pitch in yesterday's win over the Chicago White Sox and left the game. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo revealed that Kelly has a fractured ulna in his right forearm and has no defined timetable to return.

It will be the third season in a row that Kelly will make a trip to the injured list. In 2021, he spent two separate stints due to a broken toe and a fractured wrist. In 2022, he had a Grade 2 oblique injury that kept him out six weeks. Lovullo said the D-backs starting catcher will be out "several weeks" and could not give a concrete answer of when Kelly will return to the lineup. Bone fractures typically take 4-6 weeks to heal however. 

The D-backs originally planned for Kelly to handle the primary catching duties while easing in Moreno at the start of the season. The injury alters their plans behind the plate, with Moreno likely to get the most starts behind the plate over the next several weeks. It remains to be seen if MLB will approve the use of PitchCom during the regular season, which would also serve to help get on the same page with the veteran pitchers on the staff. It's also worth noting that Moreno has never started more than 67 games behind the plate in a season. 

Behind him, the depth chart at the position isn't so clear. Jose Herrera is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster, but he hit .189/.250/.207 at the plate in 47 games and was below average in both framing in blocking last season. He's off to a 1-for-24 start at the plate this spring. He has the most familiarity with the pitching staff of the backup options, although Lovullo says no one has the leg up in the competition for that spot.

Looking at the non-roster options, P.J. Higgins is the only other catcher left in big league camp. Higgins is hitting .351 with four doubles and two home runs this spring, and has additionally gotten reps at first base. That positional versatility could come into play for potential roster decisions next week. Higgins is a career .210/.291/.348 hitter in the big leagues and rated poorly in both framing or blocking last season. Additionally the team could bring back Dominic Miroglio or Ali Sánchez from minor league camp.