D-backs’ Nick Ahmed to make 2021 debut; Gallen a ‘possibility’ for Tuesday
The Arizona Diamondbacks shared some good news ahead of Saturday night’s matchup with the Cincinnati Reds.
The D-backs reinstated Nick Ahmed off of the 10-day injured list, paving the way for the shortstop to make his 2021 regular-season debut in front of the home crowd.
It’s yet another welcome sight for the 2-6 D-backs after outfielder Kole Calhoun returned on the IL in the team’s home opener loss on Friday night.
“[Ahmed’s] been one of our regulars since I’ve been the manager here,” D-backs skipper Torey Lovullo said via Zoom. “He’s one of the best shortstops in baseball. The industry is aware of that, so just getting that guy back in the lineup is going to be tremendous for us and push us in a very, very good direction.
“We felt that yesterday with Kole. Credit to those guys for working as hard as they did and giving the input they did to allow themselves to get back as soon as they have.”
It’s been a roller coaster of a year for Ahmed, who dealt with injury and a personal issue in spring training. The knee problem spilled over into the regular season, leading to his stint on the IL.
In 25 plate appearances in spring training (nine games), Ahmed averaged .190 to go along with a .749 OPS. He recorded four hits, two RBIs, four walks and a stolen base.
“Getting both [Ahmed and Calhoun] back inside our clubhouse cannot be measured,” Lovullo added. “Their leadership and their ability to go out and command the respect of their teammates inside of that clubhouse is gonna help us on some tough days.
“We’re walking through some tough days right now, but it is baseball and it does happen. Just gotta keep plowing and these guys will make sure that happens.”
With Ahmed coming back into the fold, the team optioned shortstop Geraldo Perdomo to the alternate training site.
In the first four games of his major league career, Perdomo recorded a hit, a run scored and three walks in 13 plate appearances. His batting average was .100 and he posted a .308 OBP while also showing off his ability as a playmaker defensively.
But while Perdomo heads to the alternate site to continue to get work on his craft, Lovullo believes the future is bright for the up-and-comer.
“He was receiving instruction well. It’s a crash course of information that starts in spring training,” Lovullo said. “He missed a little bit of time in spring training, he was a little banged up, but he’s an unbelievable student of the game. He asks questions all the time and then he’s fearless. What stood out to me was a very calm demeanor, great heartbeat and the ability to go out and execute on both sides of the ball.
“The at-bats were a little inconsistent, but that’s going to be expected from a younger player. What impressed me was how knowledgeable he was at what was happening around him on defense. He was making all his plays, he had his clock on and did a really nice job of anchoring the shortstop position.”
Zac Gallen ‘a possibility’ for Tuesday
Adding to the encouraging injury news Saturday was an update on D-backs starting pitcher Zac Gallen.
While the team turns to Madison Bumgarner on Monday against the Oakland Athletics, Lovullo didn’t rule out the injured starter for Tuesday’s matchup.
“It’s a possibility [Gallen could be the starter Tuesday],” the skipper said.
Before going down with a hairline stress fracture in his right forearm, Gallen sported a 2.13 ERA in spring training, allowing three earned runs and four walks in 12.2 innings of work over four spring training starts. He also struck out 11 and had a 1.263 WHIP.
He was placed on the 10-day IL to start the regular season.
Gallen’s potential return could be just what the struggling starting rotation needs. Of the team’s hurlers, Taylor Widener is the lone starter with a quality start and a win in 2021. The rotation as a whole is 1-4 this year.
– Lovullo on injured outfielder Ketel Marte:
“It’s a strain that’s significant enough that he’s gonna step away and he’s gonna heal up over the next several days. And then as he starts layering in the next levels of work through the progression I’ll keep you guys posted. No time limit, no thought about when he’s going to be coming back. We just need him to heal right now, so I don’t know anything else over then it’s a hamstring strain in the belly of the muscle and he’s going to be on the mend for a couple more days.”