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Luke Weaver, Merrill Kelly have rocky spring debuts for D-backs

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver adjusts his cap as he takes the mound to face the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Diamondbacks right-hander Luke Weaver gave up four earned runs and didn’t last an inning into his 2020 spring debut Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics.

He was tagged with four earned runs as Arizona manager Torey Lovullo pulled the right-hander after Weaver gave up two hits, walked two and struck out two in 0.2 innings in the D-backs’ 16-3 loss.

“I can’t complain,” Weaver told reporters at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona. “I left the mound not on my high horse. Obviously got humbled but it’s been a — got to take it easy on myself — it’s been a while since I’ve been competitive consistently.”

Fellow 2019 starting pitcher Merrill Kelly didn’t fare much better. He gave up two runs and lasted 1.1 innings having allowed three hits with a walk.

But the rough first spring outing for Weaver comes with the pitcher hoping to put a forearm injury in the past. Last year, Weaver didn’t play from May 26 to Sept. 21 while he dealt with an injury to his throwing arm.

He returned on Sept. 21 and pitched a clean two innings before being shut down, protecting him for the rest of the season.

By the end of 2019, Weaver pitched a total of 64.1 innings over 12 games for a 2.94 ERA and 4-3 record.

“I was just happy to see him start another game,” Lovullo told reporters. “I know he had one at the end of last year, but after a healthy offseason, to see him back on the mound and do what he did I thought it was a good day for him. Velocity was there, I know that’ll probably climb a little bit. I think overall he was OK.”

On Wednesday, Weaver allowed a single to shortstop Marcus Semien to lead off the game. He struck out infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson before getting into trouble, walking two batters and allowing a single, then getting pulled for minor-leaguer Jayson McKinley.

“The ball was coming out good,” Weaver said. “I think I saw some good velocity numbers out of the fastball. Threw some good cutters, threw some good changeups, some swing-and-miss there for some strikeouts against a couple of really good hitters. Besides that four-ball straight walk … all the other at-bats were competitive.”

Reporter Luke Lupinski contributed to this story.

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