Diamondbacks’ Andrew Saalfrank strikes out 2 in scoreless MLB debut

Sep 6, 2023, 7:39 AM

Andrew Saalfrank, debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks...

Relief pitcher Andrew Saalfrank #57 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the sixth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on September 05, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Saalfrank made his major league debut. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks left-handed pitcher Andrew Saalfrank had quite the MLB debut.

The 26-year-old pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief on Tuesday, punching out Colorado Rockies hitters Ezequiel Tovar and Nolan Jones for his first two career strikeouts.

After striking out Jones for the first out in the eighth inning, manager Torey Lovullo called to the bullpen, ending Saalfrank’s night at 27 pitches.

“It’s a great moment. He came in and had an ease to him when I handed him the ball,” Lovullo said after the 3-2 loss. “He got some big outs. He was fantastic.”

Lovullo was greeted with a roar of boos when he walked out to pull the rookie, but as Saalfrank walked towards the dugout, a standing ovation from the crowd, including his family, awaited him.

Although the team ultimately fell to the Rockies, it’s a night he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

“Awesome experience today … but (we) came short in the game so takes away a little bit,” Saalfrank said. “It was awesome, it was a cool experience today.”

Saalfrank appeared in 44 games this season between Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno, going 8-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched.

The former sixth-round pick out of Indiana in 2019 went 3-1 with a 0.00 ERA in August, holding opponents to a .125 average over that span.

Saalfrank was called up to the Diamondbacks on Monday, adding another lefty arm to a right-handed heavy bullpen in the midst of the team’s playoff run.

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