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D-backs pitcher Zac Gallen on elbow injury: ‘Spirits are relatively high’

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Mets, Friday, May 7, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Suffering a right elbow sprain was a blow to Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen’s daily grind.

But on the flip side, he’s grateful it was caught early.

“I was starting to just kind of get in the groove, getting off of that injury to start the season, everything was starting to click and then ultimately being bummed just not being able to be out there with the guys,” Gallen said Wednesday via Zoom. “Spirits are relatively high, so that’s the good thing.”

The right-hander was placed on the IL on Wednesday for a strained portion of his UCL — his second IL stint of the season after missing time for a hairline fracture, also in his right arm.

This time around, though, Gallen said the arm tightness was something that came and went, until he realized that it felt different than other arm tightness he has dealt with before.

“This one just felt a little bit different, kind of lingered a little bit,” he said. “So for me, it was like ‘Hey, let’s just say something.’

“As much as me ignoring it was hoping that it would just go away, I knew that that was pretty silly to think that so I was like alright I have to say something and we went to get the MRI.”

A team of doctors is collaborating to determine the best course of action for what is currently considered a minor sprain.

“Any time you get into that area, especially for a pitcher, the news is never as great,” Gallen said. “So I think relatively speaking, the minor sprain is a small win here. That’s pretty much the extent of what I know.”

Meanwhile, Christian Walker is back on the IL, once again for soreness in the same right oblique area as before.

It’s something he felt he had overcome, but realized it was soreness that kept cropping up. However, it’s not a step back for the first baseman.

“It’s not necessarily like a high pain thing,” Walker said. “I caught myself thinking about it during some swings or out in the field I’m searching for it and that’s not the mindset. To me, that’s already too much of a compromising place.

“If I’m even questioning a little bit, I’m not 100% confident. I need to be overconfident in my body especially a side or an oblique or something like that when swinging.”

Walker currently doesn’t have a time table for return. His main focus is making sure his body feels right and that he can produce for the D-backs.

“I’m a max effort guy when I’m out there,” Walker said. “It’s hard for me to control my effort level. when I hit the go button, I need to be able to go. If I’m in any other mental place other than that, I’m compromised and that’s not fair to my teammates or myself.”


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