Bryce Jarvis starting season in long reliever role for Diamondbacks

Mar 27, 2024, 7:29 AM | Updated: 3:09 pm

PHOENIX — Bryce Jarvis will start the season with the Diamondbacks in a long reliever role, manager Torey Lovullo announced on Tuesday.

“He’s throwing the ball extremely well,” Lovullo said. “I like the fact that he’s getting outs and he’s got length. If something happens where one of our guys gets banged up early, we feel like Jarvis can give us 50-60 pitches and push it to the next day.”

Arizona on Tuesday named its five-man starting rotation with young arms Tommy Henry and Ryne Nelson earning spots behind Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt.

Lovullo announced last Friday that Arizona might need such a long reliever after Eduardo Rodriguez was sent to the injured list with a lat strain. That remains the case even after the D-backs reportedly signed veteran starter Jordan Montgomery, who reportedly will need to stretch himself out during the start of the regular season that begins Thursday.

Why Bryce Jarvis?

Enter Jarvis, who has played in five games this spring and has a 7.59 ERA through 10.2 innings of work while competing for a rotation spot.

On March 14, he tossed 3.1 innings of scoreless relief against the Royals, recording five strikeouts in the process.

Jarvis was the 18th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft and was called up to the Diamondbacks for the first time last season.

He pitched 23.2 innings in 11 games, mostly as a reliever, and boasted a 3.04 ERA.

Rodriguez’s forced departure left the third spot in the rotation open that was filled by Tommy Henry.

Without Rodriguez, three pitchers in the Diamondback rotation are 26 or under: Henry, Ryne Nelson and Brandon Pfaadt.

If one of these players gets in a rut early in games, Jarvis would throw a couple innings in relief to ease the tension on the short-relief bullpen arms.

Lovullo credits Jarvis’s recent rise to the 26-year-old’s discovery of a new pitch. Jarvis developed a cut fastball over the offseason and has added it to his pitching arsenal for spring training.

“He got some shared information on potentially throwing a new pitch, and he tried it, and it worked,” Lovullo said.

Prepping for opening day

Jarvis said that going into Opening Day on Thursday, the team’s confidence is as high as it can be and that it has every reason to be after a World Series appearance last season.

“From maybe outside, we might have a target on our back,” Jarvis said. “But from the inside, it’s just kind of doing all the same things that led us to where we were last year and kind of doubling down on those processes.”

The Diamondbacks open the season on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies at 7:10 p.m.

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