Diamondbacks outfielder Pavin Smith suffered a nondisplaced fracture in his right wrist over the weekend, farm director Josh Barfield tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Smith, who also incurred some ligament damage in the area, suffered the injury diving for a fly ball with a game for Triple-A Reno. Barfield tells Piecoro the wrist will be immobilized for the next six weeks. The club is hoping he’ll be able to avoid surgery and return at some point this season, but the full extent of the damage and a treatment program will be known after he undergoes a CT scan.
It’s a brutal blow for Smith, who was just optioned on Saturday. He suffered the injury two days into the minor league stint, dealing a hit to his chances of earning another big league call in the near future. Because he suffered the injury in Triple-A, Smith lands on the minor league injured list and won’t receive big league pay or service time, at least for now. It’s possible the D-Backs eventually recall him and put him on the 60-day IL to clear a 40-man roster spot, but the club could elect to leave him in the minors for the duration of his recovery to avoid paying him at an MLB rate.
The seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft, Smith has suited up for the D-Backs in each of the past three seasons. He tallied 545 plate appearances last year, hitting .267/.328/.404 with 11 home runs and 27 doubles. It wasn’t an impact performance, but the left-hander showed solid contact skills and plate discipline and looked as if he could serve as a contributor in the long-term corner outfield mix.
His follow-up in 2022 has proven a disappointment, however. Smith has fanned in 26.1% of his 241 big league plate appearances, a clip nearly seven points higher than last season’s rate. He showed some more over-the-fence power, popping nine homers in 65 games, but the uptick in whiffs and a spike in his rate of infield fly balls led his batting average to crater. The 26-year-old hit .207 with a .290 on-base percentage before the Snakes optioned him.