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D-backs’ Luke Weaver motivated after promising 2019 was cut short

Luke Weaver #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park on May 26, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Luke Weaver did some good work making the Arizona Diamondbacks feel justified in trading for him before the 2019 season.

Over 11 starts to begin the year, the right-hander acquired in the D-backs’ trade of franchise face Paul Goldschmidt held up well with a sub-3.00 ERA and a 4-3 record.

Then a forearm strain submarined his season. Weaver sat out from May 26 through Sept. 21, returning to pitch a clean two innings before the team shut him down for the little that was left in the season.

“It’s just a big exhale,” Weaver told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “It’s knowing that you’re back into a competitive game at the highest level, and all the work you put into it. You can go home that night and sleep and feel good about it and go into next season ready to go.”

Weaver isn’t facing any limitations heading into spring of 2020, manager Torey Lovullo said.

Now 26, Weaver knows that his performance — and that of fellow former St. Louis Cardinal Carson Kelly — will still be linked to the blockbuster that sent Goldschmidt away from Arizona. Along with Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen and Mike Leake, he’s expected to be a key contributor in the rotation.

Including those last 2.0 innings pitched that gave him the confidence to head into the offseason, Weaver recorded a 1.073 WHIP and 2.94 ERA in 64.1 frames last year.

“I think the biggest thing was have fun,” Weaver said. “It’s a game and we forget that sometimes. Once I clicked that switch (at the beginning of 2019) and took the stress off myself, I just let it happen.”

It’s a promising start in making D-backs GM Mike Hazen and the team’s fans see the Goldschmidt trade as a win-win for both teams. It’s too small of a sample size for Weaver.

“That’s in the past, that’s a different season,” he said. “For me coming over here and coming off a season that was as not all pleasing to me … there’s just some motivation for me to come over and prove myself, not only to the major league players but to this organization … trying to come get me in a deal for the franchise guy.”

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