ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs’ rotation allows for patience with progressing Davies

May 12, 2023, 9:03 AM

Zach Davies #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the first inning of a baseball game agai...

Zach Davies #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres on June 20, 2022 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

PHOENIX –Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies is progressing through his oblique injury, and manager Torey Lovullo on Thursday said that he will be back in the rotation whenever he is ready.

Davies has his second outing against live hitters set for either Sunday in a simulated game or Monday in the Arizona Complex League. He is expected to throw about 50-55 pitches.

The D-backs want to see two more appearances from him before he returns to the big leagues, and it is undetermined whether he will need a rehab start in the minor leagues. His next marker will be 65-70 pitches before the organization makes its next decision.

His return would continue the pattern of moving parts surrounding Arizona’s pitching roster, which currently holds 12 arms to 14 position players and a shorter bullpen.

“When Zach is ready, Zach is coming,” Lovullo said. “What does that mean in the back three? At this point I don’t know. There’s so many moving parts to it. Zach is gonna need a couple more outings before he gets back here, and we have some time to read and react. We are not in emergency status.”

Lovullo said that if it were last year, the D-backs may be pushing Davies along faster to fill a void.

Their back end of the rotation was in a more dire spot.

But with three young starters – Ryne Nelson, Tommy Henry and Brandon Pfaadt – in the rotation and depth at Triple-A, the D-backs have the opportunity to work Davies along at a more desired pace.

While there has been hit-and-miss elements to their starts this far, the organization has shown confidence in the trio’s ability to put Arizona in positions to win games going forward.

Pitching coach Brent Strom has made adjustments with all three.

He adjusted Nelson’s glove, having it closer to his torso and less out in front that was causing tension.

With Pfaadt, they took a few miles per hour off the changeup to differ from his fastball, and Strom said the rookie will continue to learn to maneuver an MLB lineup, trust his secondary pitches and work around hitters.

Pfaadt allowed six home runs in his first two starts while leaving the ball in hitters’ zones.

“He has a unique, lower arm slot,” Strom told reporters this week. “Uniqueness is really important in baseball. He has a lower arm slot, the ball has some carry to it. … I like his poise and maturity very much so.”

Henry had his best start of the season on Thursday with 6.2 innings of two-run ball against the Giants. Lovullo credited Henry with getting better with each start, and the southpaw said his slider, a focus behind the scenes this year, felt strong.

When Davies comes back up, someone will need to come down, and the D-backs will cross that bridge when they get there. They are focused on winning games first and foremost, but there is naturally some competition built into that plan for Davies.

Nelson is next up on Friday against San Francisco, and Pfaadt will finish the series on the hill Sunday.

Lovullo also said adding another pitcher to the roster has been discussed.

The bullpen has been a man short compared to the first four weeks of the season.

Lovullo said having the additional offensive player has been beneficial with outfielder Corbin Carroll getting back to 100% after his crash into the Coors Field wall on April 29.

He explained that having starters go deep into games will help with having one fewer reliever.

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