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Diamondbacks pitching tuning up as first exhibition game nears

As the Arizona Diamondbacks first exhibition game draws near, the team is starting to look at putting the finishing touches on what the pitching rotation will look like this season.

Manager Torey Lovullo told reporters on a Zoom call Sunday that the team will start to hone in on who will likely be starting for the D-backs this year in the coming days.

“We’re gonna probably start to have these conversations during the course of this upcoming week about what that shape looks like,” Lovullo said. “We haven’t made any decisions. Obviously there’s a couple of no brainers, but we have some very difficult decisions.”

Heading into the 2020 season, it was likely Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Mike Leake were set for the starting rotation; however, with Leake opting out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s forcing Lovullo to make decisions.

“When you’re forced to make tough decisions like we are, it means you have depth, which we love, but we’ve got to figure out five and then the rest behind that which can give us a little flexibility and depth if something creeps up on us,” Lovullo said.

Alex Young was one of the pitchers to throw in the instrasquad game on Sunday and is a likely candidate to take up the fifth rotation spot. Lovullo said he was impressed with Young’s execution in his outing.

“Alex Young has done a great job and he’s been driving some four-seamers in on some right handers,” Lovullo said.

Young had a 3.56 ERA in 17 outings (15 starts) for the D-backs last season. He mentioned the four-seam is something that he’s tweaked for the upcoming season.

“It’s going to depend on the lineup, who’s in the box, counts — all that stuff, but my four-seam felt really good today, so I think if I just keep that going into the season, it’s going to benefit me a lot,” Young said.

The Diamondbacks will hold two exhibition games agains the Los Angeles Dodgers in L.A. July 19 and 20 before opening the regular season in San Diego Friday against the San Diego Padres.

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