Dallas Keuchel’s path to D-backs goes through lower levels, bullpens
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo will monitor the Arizona Complex League on Monday, as Dallas Keuchel will take the bump.
Arizona signed Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young award winner, to a minor-league deal on June 7 after the Chicago White Sox designated the veteran for assignment.
Keuchel will have to impress at the lower levels and during his bullpens to open a path toward taking the bump for the major-league squad.
“As far as a plan or a roadmap as to what’s going to be happening, I think this all depends on how he does and will continue to progress and based on the information he gives us through these bullpens and these outings,” Lovullo said in a press conference on Saturday.
Keuchel is reunited with pitching coach Brent Strom, who worked with the lefty from 2014-18 in Houston.
Lovullo said Strom was encouraged by Keuchel’s most recent bullpen.
“They work very well together,” Lovullo said. “I think Dallas responds to whatever Strom is suggesting.”
Arizona is stretching Keuchel out as a starter, Lovullo said. He’s had more interactions with the 34-year-old recently, saying the two have exchanged stories.
Lovullo, who has seen Keuchel work up close several times over his career as a bench coach with the Boston Red Sox and manager of the D-backs, said he remembers how dominant the southpaw was with the Astros.
Keuchel has not started an MLB game since May 26. He had a 7.88 ERA in 32 innings with Chicago this year.
The D-backs have four solidified spots in the rotation taken by Zac Gallen, Madison Bumgarner, Merrill Kelly and Zach Davies. The fifth spot has been more of a question this season, as Caleb Smith started there, Humberto Castellanos took it over but he is on the 60-day injured list.
Luke Weaver recently returned from injury and will start Saturday in that slot against the Minnesota Twins.
Second baseman Ketel Marte remains day-to-day, Lovullo said Saturday. He is out of the lineup with a mild hamstring strain, and Buddy Kennedy will start at second base for the first time in his MLB career.
Kennedy was selected on Friday.
Lovullo said Marte having a mild, Grade 1 strain is good news.
In other injury news, pitcher J.B. Bukauskas will throw to live hitters on Tuesday. He remains on the 60-day injured list with a teres major muscle strain.
The D-backs and Twins face each other at 7:10 p.m. Tune in on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.