Pitching prospect Slade Cecconi to get call-up from D-backs

Jul 31, 2023, 10:35 AM

Diamondbacks pitcher Slade Cecconi...

Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Slade Cecconi warms up before a spring training game on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Peoria. (Arizona Sports/Alex Weiner).

(Arizona Sports/Alex Weiner)

The Arizona Diamondbacks will turn to 24-year-old prospect Slade Cecconi to fill in on their rotation with two of their starters on the injured list, reports Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

The Diamondbacks placed the left-handed Tommy Henry on the 15-day injured list with left elbow inflammation retroactive to Saturday after his last start, leaving open another spot in the rotation.

Henry joined starter Zach Davies on the injured list, and the D-backs are down to four healthy starting pitchers with Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, Ryne Nelson and Brandon Pfaadt. Kelly on Tuesday returned after a month on the shelf due to a blood clot.

The right-handed Cecconi is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 9 prospect in the team’s farm system.

He has gone 4-8 with a 6.38 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over the course of 20 starts for Triple-A Reno this season.

Cecconi has 104 strikeouts to 29 walks this season with Reno, continuing a trend dating back to his Double-A season a year back. His profile, from MLB Pipeline:

The right-hander’s 5.7 percent BB rate ranked fifth among Double-A qualifiers, and he’s been trending in the right direction in that regard. But he needs a consistent third pitch to become a true rotation option, and as he enters his Rule 5 year, it might be worth seeing how the fastball-slider combo plays in shorter spurts soon.

The No. 33 overall pick from the 2020 MLB Draft moved up in the minors through each of the last three years, starting in High-A Hillsboro and spending last season with Double-A Amarillo before landing in Reno for all of 2023 thus far.

How long Cecconi has a chance to fill in remains to be seen. On Saturday, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo was notified that Henry’s elbow was bothering him after pitching Friday.

Henry has been in the rotation since getting recalled from Triple-A on April 24, owning a 3.86 ERA in 15 appearances since the start of May. The D-backs are 10-7 this year in games he’s pitched.

“We’re not sure what the timeline is,” Lovullo said, adding a return in August is expected. “There’s no surgery, nothing like that. He just needs his rest, probably for about a seven-day period of time.

“We’re hopeful he can begin a routine or process to get back on the field at that point in time. That’s what’s been explained to me, there’s no firm timeline on when he’ll start or when he’ll be back on the field.”

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