Diamondbacks place starter Merrill Kelly on injured list, recall Tommy Henry

Apr 23, 2024, 3:51 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2024, 7:25 am

Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly...

Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Coors Field on April 09, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The injuries continue for the Arizona Diamondbacks as the team announced Tuesday that the team placed starting pitcher Merrill Kelly on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.

Additionally, right-handed reliever Miguel Castro and lefty-handed reliever Kyle Nelson will go on the 15-day injured list with shoulder inflammation to their throwing arms.

The team announced that starting pitcher Tommy Henry and relief pitchers Andrew Saalfrank and Justin Martinez have been called up from Triple-A Reno to take the roster spots left by Kelly, Castro and Nelson.

The D-backs scratched Kelly ahead of his scheduled start Sunday at the San Francisco Giants due to a shoulder issue that popped while throwing. He went back to Phoenix for further imaging while the club continued its road trip.

The Diamondbacks with this move lose perhaps their most consistent starting pitcher and a workhouse at a time when the roster is in flux with injuries with two tough division opponents coming up. Starting Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres come to Chase Field.

Kelly adds to a long D-backs injured list for both pitchers and position players:

10-day IL: SS Geraldo Perdomo (meniscus), OF Alek Thomas (hamstring)
15-day IL: RHP Merrill Kelly (shoulder), RHP Paul Sewald (oblique), RHP Ryne Nelson (elbow), RHP Luis Frias (shoulder), RHP Miguel Castro (shoulder), Kyle Nelson (Shoulder)
60-day IL: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (shoulder), RHP Drey Jameson (elbow)

Plus, prospects Jordan Lawlar (60-day), Jorge Barrosa (7-day), Kristian Robinson (7-day) and Geno Groover (60-day) are on the minor-league injured lists.

Kelly was off a strong start to the season after his outstanding 2023 postseason (2.25 ERA in 24 innings). The sixth-year veteran had not allowed more than two runs in any of his first four outings with three quality starts.

Entering play Monday, his 2.19 ERA ranked 11th among 45 pitchers with at least 24 innings pitched. The slider he’d been working on looked and felt sharp, adding to an already deep arsenal of six pitches.

Kelly missed a month last season due to a blood clot in his calf but came back and was excellent down the stretch with a 3.38 ERA over his final 14 starts before the playoffs.

The D-backs received a boost by getting Jordan Montgomery into the rotation on Friday, but losing Kelly and Nelson within a week continues to stress the organizational depth. Slade Cecconi performed admirably in relief of Kelly on Sunday with six innings and two earned runs to pick up his first MLB win.

The Diamondbacks had injuries last year but were not hit with a wave quite like the start of 2024.

Tommy Henry returns to the rotation

Henry returns to the rotation after getting optioned last week — he was eligible as an injury replacement. The lefty got off to an up-and-down start with two solid outings and two others in which he allowed five earned runs without getting out of the fifth inning.

He and Nelson battled for rotation spots in spring training and were called upon with Rodriguez going down and Montgomery signing after Opening Day.

“I think Tommy Henry is gonna pitch in this league for a long time,” general manager Mike Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke after sending him down. “I think for four innings last night, he was in a really good rhythm outside of a couple of mistakes. And then things kind of fell apart in the fifth. I think that’s the last frontier here. And it’s mostly command-related for me.

“We’re not looking at a huge strikeout pitcher. I think we’re looking at a guy that’s gonna get off the barrel, we look at a guy that’s gonna pin guys in negative counts. Those are the things we’ve talked to him about. We want him to dominate the strike zone … leverage situations more consistently. I think when he finds that, he’s gonna have hitters more on their heels.”

Montgomery will start Wednesday against the Cardinals in the series finale.

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