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Diamondbacks’ Caleb Smith out of starting role, will move to bullpen

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Caleb Smith delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday, April 3, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Caleb Smith will move from his starting role into the bullpen after struggling in his first start of the season, manager Torey Lovullo announced Wednesday.

The D-backs are undecided who will take Smith’s place in the rotation.

“We’re looking for him to be a little more consistent and we feel like this will give him the opportunity to go down in the bullpen and work on a couple things,” Lovullo said via Zoom.

In last Saturday’s loss to the San Diego Padres, Smith allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and walked three in three innings of work.

Zac Gallen could be a potential option to slide in Smith’s spot for the D-backs, however, he is still recovering from a hairline fracture in his right forearm.

Lovullo said Gallen would be discussed but the starter will have to “pass the test” following an outing at the alternate training site Wednesday. He added that the D-backs’ staff is also evaluating pitchers across the organization – both on the roster and at the alternate training site – to fill the role.

Arizona has one more game against the Rockies, a three-game series with the Reds and two games against the Athletics before its next off-day, so Lovullo and his staff will need to name a replacement quickly or switch around the rotation.

For now, Taylor Widener will take Smith’s place as the starter in Friday’s home opener against the Reds, according to MLB’s Steve Gilbert.

In the bullpen, Smith will join Alex Young as the only two left-handers, something Lovullo said is a nice threat to have.

“It’s a luxury for me to have that second lefty down there,” the manager said. “He’s also going to give us a little coverage, a little bit of length on a time when we feel like we need that.”


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