Diamondbacks option RHPs Corbin Martin, Slade Cecconi in final week of spring training

Mar 18, 2024, 10:34 AM | Updated: 12:41 pm

Corbin Martin...

Corbin Martin of the Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training at Salt River Fields. (Arizona Sports Photo/Alex Weiner)

(Arizona Sports Photo/Alex Weiner)

SCOTTSDALE — The Arizona Diamondbacks continued to clear up spring training roster battles by optioning pitchers Corbin Martin, Slade Cecconi and Blake Walston to Triple-A Reno on Monday.

Outfielder Kyle Garlick was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving 36 players in the big league clubhouse with Opening Day 10 days out.

Martin, 28, returned to the mound this spring after missing all of 2023 with a torn right lat he suffered before Opening Day. The right-hander — and Arizona’s final player added in the 2019 Zack Greinke trade — was slow-played this spring and made his debut last week against the San Diego Padres.

He threw two scoreless innings in Cactus League games and will be sent down for more reps.

“He’s thrown the ball really well,” manager Torey Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday. “Let’s go back 365 days. This was a player who was going to make our team, he was going to be one of our bullpen pieces we were excited about. We had to pull him off the mound with a pretty serious injury.

“Now he’s a fully recovered athlete … but it’s a matter about getting the reps. Corbin has a very bright future still despite having challenging injuries along his journey.”

Lovullo said catcher Tucker Barnhart told him Martin’s stuff was coming out hot during the Padres game.

Martin has only made 17 appearances for the Diamondbacks since the trade while dealing with multiple injuries. He was not considered a long relief option going into the season.

Lovullo said on Monday he wants to see Martin stretch out to multiple innings and be able to throw in back-to-back games, something he had not reached this spring.

The D-backs still see him as a reliever for the foreseeable future.

“This decision was made because we just don’t feel like physically he’s perfectly ready, but he’s very close,” Lovullo said. “He might disagree with that, and he should disagree with that. But we just have to be very careful.”

Cecconi, 24, entered camp as a contender for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, a competition down to frontrunners Ryne Nelson and Tommy Henry along with Bryce Jarvis. Cecconi made his major league debut last season, pitching in seven games during the regular season with two postseason appearances.

He pitched in four Cactus League games with six earned runs, 12 strikeouts and three walks in 8.1 innings.

“I love the fact there’s competition because it produces the best players,” Cecconi told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke last week. “I don’t like to think of it as I’m competing against those guys for the spot. My competition is in the batter’s box and my competition is within myself to be the best version of myself.

“I’ll be excited for whoever gets the job. Wherever I end up, I’ll be working, no matter if it’s in Reno, if it’s in the bullpen or if it’s in the big leagues.”

The Diamondbacks have been open to using a young starter who does not win the fifth rotation spot in a long relief role.

Lovullo said Cecconi will get “bulk innings” in Reno, not committing to a future as a starter or reliever at this point.

“He’s going to be as versatile as he possibly can be for us if there’s ever a need here,” Lovullo said.

Walston heads back to Reno after spending the entire 2023 season pitching for the Aces. The 22-year-old southpaw had a 4.52 ERA there last season and entered camp looking to gain more consistency.

He will be starting pitching depth, not looked at in the versatile role Cecconi will be placed in.

Garlick, 32, was brought in during spring training as a non-roster invitee after spending the last three seasons on the Minnesota Twins. He had a two-homer game but was otherwise quiet at the plate during Cactus League play.

The D-backs enter Monday with seven more spring training games — including a split-squad Saturday — before heading to Chase Field for two against the Cleveland Guardians as a rehearsal for Opening Day.

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