D-backs’ Zach Davies returns to rotation Saturday, roster decision TBD

May 26, 2023, 4:47 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm

Pitcher Zach Davies #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during their MLB game against the San D...

Pitcher Zach Davies #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during their MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on April 09, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Padres won 5-2 against the Diamondbacks. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t secretive on Thursday when they announced their Saturday starter was “TBA.”

Zach Davies made a rehab start with Double-A Amarillo last weekend and will slide back into the rotation after missing seven weeks with a left oblique strain.

Manager Torey Lovullo made the announcement on Friday’s edition of Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo, noting he has been thrilled by Davies’ progress.

“You can’t force the body to heal any quicker than it’s going to, so the injury in his midsection was going to take time, but there were other things that he could do that would shorten the gap of his return,” Lovullo said.

“Keeping your lower half engaged, keeping your shoulder healthy and strong. So when he stepped back into the arena of competition, he was lights out. Everybody who was coming back, Carson Kelly perfect example, coming back into our stadium on certain days when we were here told me that Zach picked up where he left off and he’s not wasting time, he wants to get back to help as much as possible.”

The veteran righty tossed 4.2 scoreless innings in his outing with Amarillo with seven punch outs.

Davies’ last start with Arizona was April 8 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he return against the Boston Red Sox at Chase Field.

The rotation has leaned on youth since Davies’ injury and Madison Bumgarner’s designation for assignment, and the former’s return forces the D-backs to make a roster move.

Rookie Brandon Pfaadt was slated to start Friday’s series opener against Boston with Merrill Kelly moved back a day to Sunday.

Monday’s starter will be either Ryne Nelson or Tommy Henry, and Lovullo said the roster decision has not been finalized.

Henry pitched 5.2 innings and allowed two runs on Monday against Philadelphia, and Nelson followed with six frames of one-run ball on Tuesday. Both resulted in wins.

“We’ve got depth, we’ve got good players, I’m proud of that depth, and when we have tough conversations, there’s a lot of different opinions that are getting thrown around my office,” Lovullo said. “It just means we are in the right place. So we haven’t yet figured that out. But we’re starting to have those conversations.”

Nelson has been in the rotation all year but is coming off his two most productive outings with 11.1 innings and one run allowed between them. Henry, the only lefty in the rotation, has six starts and the D-backs have won in four of them.

D-backs assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye called it a “good problem to have” on Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Thursday.

“There’s not a blinking red light arm we have to necessarily send out,” Sawdaye said. “These guys have all improved from the beginning of the year, I think we’re starting to see stuff come back, guys throwing more strikes, guys attacking the zone, getting more swings and misses.”

Arizona takes on the Colorado Rockies Monday-Thursday in a four-game set before seeing the Atlanta Braves for three contests, all at Chase Field.

First pitch on Friday is at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7, and the app. 

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