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D-backs’ Torey Lovullo on pitcher Zac Gallen: ‘He has unbelievable stuff’

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Pitcher Zac Gallen was a bright spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ rotation last season.

Gallen, who was acquired by the D-backs in a trade with the Miami Marlins in 2019, finished the 2020 season with a 3-2 record, a 2.75 ERA and a 2.7 WAR.

Now entering his third season, Gallen isn’t becoming complacent.

“You lose when you think you’re established, you’ve made it,” Gallen said via Zoom on Sunday. “That’s a very thin line to tread across. … I hope to never get to that point where I feel like I can rest back on my laurels.”

Since his MLB debut in June 2019, only five pitchers have a better ERA than Gallen (2.78), according to FanGraphs.

He also finished ninth in last year’s Cy Young voting.

However, Gallen is still seen as a bit of a dark-horse.

He isn’t a big name yet, and with only two years under his belt compared to the multiple years of many aces around the league, Gallen still has a long way to go.

It’s fine with the pitcher, though, who said he’ll always have a chip on his shoulder to motivate him.

“I think that will always be just my personality,” Gallen said. “I don’t know what it is, I don’t know why it’s like that but it’s probably just ingrained in me. … If I’m underlooked or overlooked, whatever it might be, I kind of like it.

“It gives me that little extra fire of being like ‘Alright I’ve gotta go out there and prove something.'”

Manager Torey Lovullo said that self awareness is what fuels Gallen’s game.

“He has unbelievable stuff,” Lovullo said. “He accepts challenges. He wants to continue growing and learning.

“He’s unbelievably mature for what we consider still a young player and I think the sky’s the limit, but he’s got work to do. He knows it and I know that he’s on the right path every single day.”

To Gallen, the focus isn’t on his own accolades, but that of the success of the team.

“I’m just trying to do my job,” he said. “That’s my daily goal.

“I try not to think about individual goals but they all pretty much come down to improving.”


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