Diamondbacks place RHP Zac Gallen on injured list with hamstring strain

May 31, 2024, 2:39 PM | Updated: 3:53 pm

Zac Gallen...

Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 07, 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks placed starting pitcher Zac Gallen on the 15-day injured list Friday with a right hamstring strain.

Arizona recalled 24-year-old pitcher Slade Cecconi from Triple-A Reno to take his place.

Gallen came off the mound after six pitches against the New York Mets on Thursday, walking off with the athletic trainer.

Manager Torey Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday Gallen was expected to miss at least his next start. Lovullo said he could not comment on how much longer Gallen would miss.

The pitcher went back to Arizona from New York to undergo further testing after the game. His rotation spot comes up again Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.

“He’s such a warrior. He’s such competitor that for him to actually acknowledge he wasn’t in a good spot and call a trainer out there, I was already thinking the worst,” Lovullo said. “So by the time I had gotten out there, he just basically walked by me and handed me the ball. I was just trying to piece the game together. … While Bryce Jarvis was warming up, I came back and was next to Zac on the table and they were examining him. I got a minute to just tell him, ‘Thank you for what you tried to do and appreciate you speaking up.’

“He’s gonna get back to Arizona, get evaluated by our team doctors, get in the tube and get an MRI. Then we’re gonna find out exactly what it looks like and what type of injury occurred.”

Lovullo acknowledged Gallen has not been 100%.

Gallen left a start on April 26 at the Seattle Mariners with right hamstring tightness and missed a start. He mentioned the hamstring tightness again after pitching against the Detroit Tigers on May 18 after he and Tigers starter Jack Flaherty went back and forth on how they wanted the mound to feel.

“We knew there was something he’d been managing. It’s the process and the protocols that were followed that led us to allow him to start every fifth day,” Lovullo said. “It just finally caught up to him to the point where he had to step off.”

Gallen spent two weeks on the injured list in 2021 with a strained right hamstring. He told reporters after Thursday’s game he felt more similar to that issue than the Seattle tweak.

Lovullo said his replacement would be an internal option in the minor leagues. The D-backs do not have another off day until June 10. They won’t be able to simply skip his start and keep the rotation going on normal rest.

Cecconi was probable for Saturday with Reno.

“We’ve put three or four plans together and everybody’s internal. You know the names Slade, Tommy (Henry),” Lovullo said. “These are guys that have been brought in and drafted and have created depth for these very reasons. So it’ll be a next-man-up mentality.”

Through 11 starts (including Thursday), Gallen has a 3.12 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 57.2 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .236 off him, and he had four straight quality starts entering Thursday.

Gallen was an NL Cy Young finalist last season after he finished fifth in 2022.

He joins fellow starting pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez (shoulder) and Merrill Kelly (shoulder) on the injured list. Rodriguez has yet to make his season debut, while Kelly went on the IL retroactive to April 20.

The D-backs will lean on a young rotation behind veteran Jordan Montgomery. Brandon Pfaadt, Blake Walston and Ryne Nelson were the other three starters on the active roster and now joined by Cecconi.

Cecconi has six appearances with five starts for the D-backs this season. He has a 6.12 ERA, although the right-hander has been dominant facing opposing batting orders the first time. He has struggled getting deeper into games.

With so many pitching injuries, the onus is on the lineup to pick up the slack, which has not been the case lately. Arizona’s offense has scored nine runs over the last six games, resulting in five losses.

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