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D-backs mull options awaiting second opinion of Walker’s injury

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Matt Koch throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, April 7, 2018, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 5-3. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
LISTEN: Mike Hazen, D-backs GM

As the Diamondbacks await a second opinion on the UCL injury that put starting pitcher Taijuan Walker on the disabled list, they are weighing both short- and long-term replacement options.

In the short-term, that means a callup from Triple-A Reno to start the Friday or Saturday game this week, said general manager Mike Hazen on Wednesday.

Right-handers Matt Koch and Braden Shipley appear to be the two logical options.

But what about a worse-case scenario?

Like last season, when Zack Godley shined once called up to replace injured starter Shelby Miller, the D-backs would hope a necessary long-term solution shows depth in their farm system.

A longer-term plan could also include Miller, who himself is nearly a year removed from Tommy John surgery.

Hazen said Miller’s potential return wouldn’t be an option until around mid-June.

“We’re going to continue to try to find ways to support our pitching,” Hazen told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “We have made some acquisitions here early that have probably flown a little under the radar as far as bolstering that depth.

“The one other piece to this is Shelby is coming back. He’s throwing bullpens, he’s looking great, he’s strong. This won’t short-change his path because we can’t do that for his health and well-being and performance when he comes back.”

As for now, the D-backs will try to survive.

It helped the bullpen Tuesday night that starter Patrick Corbin went 9.0 innings in a 1-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

With Robbie Ray on the mound Wednesday, Arizona plays the second game of the three-game home series at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Zack Greinke will close out the series for the Diamondbacks on Thursday before they open a three-game home set against the San Diego Padres on Friday.

Zack Godley could start that game, or be pushed back depending on who is called up.

“Other people are going to have to step up,” Hazen said.

Here are a few notes about the options regarding that:

— Koch, who this year has one game of 6.0 innings pitched in the minors, is scheduled to start for Reno on Wednesday — a full appearance would take him out of the running to pitch for Arizona in the Padres series.

Koch made one appearance for the D-backs earlier this season in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 7. He pitched 2.0 frames and struck out three without allowing a hit or walking a batter.

He has nine games of MLB experience over the past three seasons and in 20.0 total innings has a 3.15 ERA (nine hits, seven earned runs allowed) to go with 13 strikeouts and five walks.

— Shipley is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA (three earned runs in 17.1 frames) over three starts with Reno. He last pitched Sunday, making him a potential option to line up for a start Friday or Saturday.

Shipley has 95.0 innings of MLB experience over the past two years, including 14 starts. He has posted a 5.40 ERA and 4-6 record with the D-backs.

— Koch, Shipley and early-April pickup Troy Scribner, who played in 10 games with four starts last year for the Los Angeles Angels, are all on the 40-man roster.

— Seven-year MLB veteran Kris Medlen, who has starting experience and was released after spring, is on the Triple-A roster but not the 40-man.

DELGADO STRETCHING OUT

Reliever Randall Delgado made his fourth rehab start with Single-A Visalia on Tuesday night and stretched out to two innings with a strikeout, no walks and no hits allowed.

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