ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

With Mike Leake opting out, D-backs feel ‘very good’ about pitching depth

Jul 1, 2020, 6:09 AM
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during t...
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a clear-cut starting rotation heading into the 2020 season of Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Mike Leake.

Leake, though, became the first known major leaguer to opt out of playing this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, a move that would leave many teams in a pickle.

The D-backs are not one. They had names who pitched important innings for them last season like Merrill Kelly and Alex Young still on the roster, the two of which who will likely battle for that spot in spring training.

“We feel very, very good about our depth,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo Tuesday.

“It lessens a little bit more of the traffic situation we had.”

Kelly seems to be the favorite for the job but Lovullo would not confirm who the fifth man is.

“I think Merrill Kelly deserves an opportunity to start baseball games,” Lovullo said.

The manager cited the right-hander’s strong close to 2019, when in his five September outings, Kelly allowed only eight earned runs in 33 innings for a 2.18 ERA.

“He was absolutely lights out and getting after it,” Lovullo said of Kelly.

Kelly, though, was 13-14 on the year with a 4.42 ERA over 32 starts because he was less than stellar in the other five months of the season. His monthly ERA in May, July and August were all above 5.00.

As for Young, multiple injuries put the D-backs in a challenging position where the lefty had to step up, and Lovullo said that Young “saved us.”

“He did a tremendous job and took the baseball and helped us win baseball games,” Lovullo said.

Young had a 3.56 ERA in 17 outings (15 starts) for the D-backs last season.

The D-backs report for spring training on Wednesday, where there will be a two-day period of COVID-19 testing before the actual work gets started on Friday.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Diamondbacks

Tampa Bay Rays' Jordan Luplow celebrates in the dugout after his grand slam during the first inning...
Wills Rice

Arizona Diamondbacks acquire outfielder Jordan Luplow from Rays

The Diamondbacks have acquired outfielder Jordan Luplow from the Tampa Bay Rays in return for infielder Ronny Simon.
4 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after Eno Benjamin #26 (not pictured) scores a ...
Kevin Zimmerman

What Arizona sports fans can be thankful for in 2021

The spirit of Thanksgiving is about the gratefulness that comes with not having it all, but enjoying the some that you do have.
1 day ago
Kyle Nelson #30 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth innin...
Jake Anderson

D-backs claim left-hander Kyle Nelson from Cleveland Guardians

LHP Kyle Nelson has pitched 10.1 innings over 11 appearances in his two years in the MLB, all of which have come out of the bullpen.
6 days ago
San Diego Padres relief pitcher Kirby Yates works against an Arizona Diamondbacks batter during the...
Arizona Sports

Report: D-backs ‘in mix’ to sign reliever Kirby Yates

The Diamondbacks are among six teams in the running to sign 2019 MLB All-Star and free agent Kirby Yates, reports Ken Rosenthal.
7 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte connects for a single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ...
Nicholas Hodell

CBS’ Axisa: D-backs’ Marte and Kelly seen as offseason trade candidates

Three players from the Arizona Diamondbacks are among this offseason's top trade candidates, according to CBS Sports' Mike Axisa.
12 days ago
Houston Astros Pitching Coach Brent Storm (56) keeps a close watch on the mound during the regular ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks officially hire Brent Strom as new pitching coach

The D-backs have hired Brent Strom, the Astros' pitching coach for the last eight years, to the same position, the team announced Thursday.
12 days ago
With Mike Leake opting out, D-backs feel ‘very good’ about pitching depth