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Hall: Though limited, D-backs could still look to free agents for pitching

Arizona Diamondbacks' Taijuan Walker pauses on the mound after giving up two runs to the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug 11, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Derrick Hall, D-backs President and CEO

For the third time in five years, the Arizona Diamondbacks have lost a starting pitcher to Tommy John surgery.

Pitcher Taijuan Walker suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, prematurely ending his season on April 14.

Since the start of last season, starting pitching has been a big part of the Diamondbacks’ success, amplifying the gravity of Walker’s injury.

While the organization’s farm system offers some replacement options in pitchers Braden Shipley and Matt Koch, team president Derrick Hall wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the front office looking elsewhere for additional depth, although a trade seems unlikely.

“That’s what they do, that’s what we do. They’re constantly looking to see who may be available and the only thing is, these guys that are out there, we don’t have all the resources,” Hall told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “We’re already stretching it thin (financially).

“There are some pretty good arms out there and some veterans out there, if they still want to pitch and still want to play. We’re going to look at all those guys.”

Koch, who has started one game for the Triple-A Reno Aces in 2018, is scheduled to start for the D-backs in place of Walker against the San Diego Padres on Friday.

Shipley has been called up to the Diamondbacks in 2016 and 2017, and went 4-6 in 23 appearances (14 starts) with a 5.40 ERA. This season, he is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA in three starts for the Aces.

“We’re lucky now that we do have some starters down in the minors that are pitching very effectively, and not only in Triple-A, but we can go deeper than that,” Hall told Doug and Wolf. “We’ll just have to watch and see how the guys continue to develop and see who can come up here and help this team in spots where we need them.”

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