D-backs SP Luke Weaver moved to bullpen; starting rotation determined
PHOENIX — The 2022 Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff is slowly but surely being solidified.
Manager Torey Lovullo during his pregame availability on Monday said that right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver would be pitching out of the bullpen to start the season.
“I had that conversation with (Weaver on Sunday),” Lovullo said. “He took it very well. I don’t think he was happy. I don’t want to sit here and make it sound like it was perfect for him.
“He said, ‘I am here to do whatever will help this team win.’ So I thought it was a true team moment and I know where his heart lies. He needs to just go out and pitch and execute and take the ball when we hand it to him and go for as long as he can for as hard as he can.”
The 28-year-old Weaver is coming off a 2021 season in which he started all 13 of his appearances. However, a shoulder injury forced him to miss half of May and all of June, July and August before returning in September. He finished the year with a 3-6 record and 4.25 ERA while striking out 62 batters over 65.2 innings (8.5 SO/9) to go along with a 1.188 WHIP.
Lovullo said that inconsistency from inning to inning was part of the decision to move Weaver from the starting rotation to the bullpen. In two spring training starts, Weaver allowed four runs (all earned) on five hits while walking five and striking out three over 4.1 innings pitched.
“He showed some good (velocity) in his first inning and then it would drop down in the second inning,” Lovullo said. “I thought he was pacing himself. I just felt like it was going to be the best version, he would get the best version of him in small spurts for right now.”
Lovullo also said Monday that the starting rotation has been determined, but the order won’t be announced until Tuesday. Lefty Madison Bumgarner has already been named the starter for Opening Day on Thursday against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field.
Right-hander Zac Gallen said last week that he’ll “press” the team to not miss his first start in the rotation, which he aims will come in the two-game home series against the Houston Astros on April 12 and 13. Lovullo added that RHPs Humberto Castellanos and Corbin Martin and LHP Caleb Smith were also in the mix for a starting spot.
“We have a lot of really good starting pitching, we have a very competitive camp here,” Lovullo said. “And that means we have to make some tough decisions. And this is just a decision that was made and we’ll continue to adjust and it’s up to them and up to everybody that’s getting the chance to show us what they can do to continue to do it.”
And with the D-backs having to shrink their roster down to 28 before Thursday, Lovullo said that the team will be split evenly with 14 pitchers and 14 batters.