Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly has suffered a fractured right forearm, manager Torey Lovullo told reporters on Tuesday. Lovullo didn't say how long Kelly would be sidelined with the injury, but it figures to be a lengthy absence. Kelly suffered the injury on Monday when he was struck by a pitch during a spring training game against the White Sox.
Kelly, 28, was in line once again to be the Diamondbacks' primary catcher. He's coming off a 2022 season in which he slashed .211/.282/.334 in 104 games. He enjoyed better fortunes in 2021, at least with the bat, when he put up an OPS+ of 104 with 13 home runs in 98 games. Injuries unfortunately have been a recurring theme for Kelly since he was acquired in late 2018 from the Cardinals as part of the Paul Goldschmidt trade.
The injury likely means that young Gabriel Moreno will step into the breach and become Arizona's starter behind the plate while Kelly is out. The D-Backs landed the 23-year-old from the Blue Jays as part of the three-player swap that most notably sent Daulton Varsho to Toronto. Moreno enjoyed a strong rookie season in 2022, as he batted .319 in 25 games for the Jays. This spring, he's been quite productive, albeit across a minuscule sample of 22 plate appearances. Coming into the 2022 season, our R.J. Anderson ranked Moreno as the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball, noting that his "upside and progress on both sides of the ball make him a highly promising backstop prospect." For Arizona, he was the key piece of Varsho trade.
It's possible Moreno was already in line to seize the starting job from Kelly at some point during the 2023 season, but that timeline has been significantly hastened by yet another injury to the incumbent.