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Zack Godley ‘respects’ bullpen move; D-backs will name new starter soon

Zack Godley #52 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stretches his arm in the dugout after being relieved in the fifth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 10, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks made a big decision on Tuesday, announcing that they would put starter Zack Godley in the bullpen after he’s struggled through his first six games.

But ask Godley about it and he’ll tell you the move was something he forced them to do.

“I respect [manager Torey Lovullo]’s decision. I mean I forced him to make a decision,” Godley said Wednesday. “I’ve just got to pitch better. And it’s an opportunity for me to go back to what I did starting out and try to get back to doing what I did best, and that’s be aggressive and get ahead of guys and get guys out.”

Before Wednesday’s matinee against the Yankees, Lovullo said the decision on who would replace Godley in the rotation — at least for his next scheduled start, which could be as soon as May 7 — would be made soon.

“We’d like to do it as soon as possible in fairness to the team that we’re playing,” Lovullo said. “That’s something that we work hard at doing because we want it in return. I don’t know what the exact timeline is, but over the next couple days, we’re going to have a lot of conversation.”

Godley currently has a 7.58 ERA through six starts, pitching 29.2 innings and allowing what currently is an MLB-high 25 runs. He has walked 18 hitters. In his last start, he lasted 2.2 innings and gave up five runs in a loss to the Cubs.

“I think he’s just going through a rut right now, and we’ve got to get him back on the straight and narrow here in terms of getting in the strike zone a little more consistently with all his pitches,” GM Mike Hazen told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “He obviously has a wipeout curveball.

“Hopefully this isn’t a long-term situation. But we felt like we had to make this adjustment right now. We had to get off the treadmill. We were running on a treadmill that wasn’t working right now, for him or the team.”

As far as who could replace Godley, Lovullo said Tuesday it likely would not be Matt Andriese, and Hazen said Wednesday top pitching prospect Jon Duplantier hasn’t been stretched out enough to be used in the short term. He also wouldn’t be eligible to be called up by May 7, since he was optioned on Sunday (players who are sent down must wait 10 days to be called back up).

Lovullo hinted that it could be a player development arm, which means it could be Taylor Clarke, who has already been recalled and optioned once this season. Hazen threw out the name Taylor Widener, as well.

“There’s a few different things that [pitching coach Mike Butcher] and I have been talking about and working on,” Godley said. “I’ve never been a guy who is purely known on being able to locate really that well, but I’ve always been in and around the zone.

“If you’ve been around this game long enough, you know that pitching is never one little thing. There’s always a bunch of different things that go into one little thing.”

Godley has pitched out of the ‘pen before. His first year with Arizona, three of his nine appearances were in relief. The next year, in 2016, he pitched 27 games, and 18 of those were from the bullpen. He’s made only one relief appearance since then.

“Hopefully through being able to do this on a day-to-day basis in the bullpen, being able to get off the mound a little bit more frequently, hopefully we’ll be able to get it figured out,” Godley said.

Doug & Wolf

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