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Lovullo: ‘Player development’ arm may fill Zack Godley’s D-backs rotation spot

Arizona Diamondbacks Taylor Clarke #45 and John Ryan Murphy #36 celebrate their 6-0 win against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo dropped the news to Burns & Gambo on Tuesday that starter Zack Godley would be moved to the bullpen as he’s struggled through six starts on the season.

“We’re going to rotate him into the bullpen and just continue to let him work and grow and learn about what it’s going to take to get him back to the form that helped him win so many baseball games in 2017 and ’18,” he said.

So until the point that Godley is ready to come back into the starting rotation, if that is the eventual goal as Lovullo suggested it was in his interview with 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, someone will need to take his place.

The Diamondbacks are lucky that this comes when they have two off days in one week, which will delay the time that another starter’s services would be needed. Without those off-days, the D-backs would need Godley this Thursday. But the D-backs won’t play Thursday. Instead, one can assume that if everyone pitches on at least four day’s rest, Arizona will need someone as early as May 7.

“I don’t know the exact date in which we’re looking for somebody or plugging in somebody,” Lovullo said when asked if it would be May 7. “We may maneuver the rotation a little bit … It can or can’t be. I don’t know exactly right now. But we are going to need somebody. There’s no doubt about that there’s going to be an internal option and we’re going to find the best candidate to come in here and do this job.”

When asked about his options, Lovullo pointed to his comment from a prior day when he said that it would not be Matt Andriese. Then, when asked directly about No. 1 pitching prospect Jon Duplantier, Lovullo noted that Duplantier was just optioned on Sunday, meaning he isn’t eligible to be recalled again for 10 days — which would be May 9.

That rules out two players, but Lovullo dropped this hint:

“We feel like we have some really good internal options in player development. You guys know the names. We don’t know who exactly that’s going to be right now at this point but we feel like we have some guys who can come in here, step up and help us win a baseball game.”

That could make Taylor Clarke the name to watch, a right-hander who has already been recalled and optioned once this season (he made one scoreless relief appearance of three innings). He is the Diamondbacks’ No. 10 prospect.

Clarke last pitched on April 26, which means he’d be in line to pitch again on May 1 and then on May 6, just a day before one might presume the D-backs would need another pitcher.

Of course, the “when” of this equation could change, if Lovullo does indeed tinker with the rotation in some way.


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