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Diamondbacks’ Josh Collmenter welcomes chance to start again

PHOENIX — He’s done it before, but it’s been awhile.

Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Josh Collmenter is once again a starter, a role he has not had since 2012 but flourished in as a rookie in 2011.

Collmenter, who has a 2.25 ERA in four relief appearances this season, will start on Monday in the series opener against the New York Mets.

“You still got to make the same pitches,” Collmenter said. “Now I just know the exact day I’m going to pitch. That’s really the only thing that changes.”

And it looks to be a permanent change, at least for the foreseeable future. According to manager Kirk Gibson, this is not a spot start for Collmenter. Randall Delgado and his 10.13 ERA have been moved to bullpen.

Other changes may be forthcoming as the Diamondbacks look to fix what is the worst starting rotation in all of baseball with a 6.69 ERA.

“We need innings out of guys who give us a chance to win the ballgame,” Gibson said.

Collmenter began his career as a starter. He finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after going 9-10 with a 3.59 ERA in 24 starts, helping the Diamondbacks win the NL West in 2011.

Then after struggling the following year, Collmenter was shifted to the bullpen. He found a home and became a favorite of Gibson’s, who liked Collmenter’s ability to pitch as needed and for extended innings, if necessary.

“It’s fun sitting down there with the guys, but also you get to throw in a variety of situations,” Collmenter said. “The bullpen is fun because you get that burst of adrenaline.”

What the Diamondbacks are losing without Collmenter in the bullpen is what they are hoping to gain with him now in the starting rotation.

“He’s a guy who locates and that’s kind of what we’re having trouble doing is locating the ball when we get guys on base and we feel Josh is the guy to do that for us,” Gibson said. “He’s pretty efficient with his pitches. He doesn’t walk a lot of guys.”

Collmenter last pitched on Wednesday, going four scoreless innings at San Francisco. He threw 53 pitches and sees no reason why he wouldn’t be able to throw up to 90 pitches against the New York Mets.

“It’s obviously nice coming back to the rotation, something that not a whole lot of guys get to do if they get sent to the bullpen. That’s usually the last stop,” Collmenter said. “But to be able to go back-and-forth, I think, really helps out. That’s just something that I’ve been able to do and be versatile and the fact that, if needed, I can go in and start.

“And who knows for how long, but I’d like to get on a good roll and just be a part of this rotation and hopefully get things turned around here.”

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