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D-backs’ Luke Weaver working back from injury, tosses simulation game

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver works against a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, May 20, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

PHOENIX — It’s been more than three months since the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Luke Weaver last pitched in an MLB game.

With the regular season beginning to wind down, and the NL Wild Card race heating up, the team is hoping to play its best baseball to close out the year.

And while Arizona has been able to sit right around .500 since his Injured List stint began, Weaver provides another trustworthy arm for the team moving forward.

Luckily, the pitcher made it back to the mound Monday morning as part of a simulation game. Pitching ahead of the team’s matchup with the San Diego Padres, Weaver looked comfortable.

“It went very well,” manager Torey Lovullo said pregame. “He threw 21 pitches, I saw several of them from behind home plate. Ball had life and felt very good so everything’s extremely encouraging news, and we’ll see how he feels coming out of that to determine what the next steps are.”

Prior to going down with right forearm tightness that first landed Weaver on the 10-day IL before being transferred to the 60-day IL, he was a solid arm in a pitching rotation that has seen quite a bit of change throughout the year.

In 11 starts this season (62.1 IP), Weaver is 4-3 with a 3.03 ERA, allowing 21 earned runs on 55 hits. He’s also struck out 68 and posts a 1.11 WHIP.

Outside of D-backs ace Robbie Ray (10) and Merrill Kelly (11), Weaver holds the next most quality starts on the team with six. For reference, he has more quality starts than Taylor Clarke (3) and Alex Young (4). Clarke and Young have started 14 and 11 games, respectively.

BASE HITS

– Lovullo provided an update on pitchers Taijuan Walker and Yoshihisa Hirano:

“Taijuan will throw another flat ground [Tuesday], and Yoshi will throw another bullpen on Wednesday.”

Walker was working his way back from Tommy John surgery before suffering a sprained shoulder capsule in May. He hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since 2018.

Hirano was placed on the 10-day IL Aug. 17 with right elbow inflammation.

– Lovullo on Adam Jones’ avalibility:

“Adam got hit by a pitch the other day. He was available [Sunday], but I was trying to stay away from him. Today, [he’s] a lot better, able to play, able to start if needed. … Adam’ll be available. He’s going to get his playing time, get his reps.”

Lovullo said he decided to go with Abraham Almonte in place of Jones to give his team some energy following a big series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move also gives Almonte the opportunity to continue his hot streak he had down at Triple-A Reno, Lovullo added.

– Although pitcher Archie Bradley has been used in the closer role often as of late, recording six saves and one win since Aug. 19, Lovullo has not officially named him the team’s closer.

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