D-backs pitcher Zac Gallen ‘feeling pretty good’ ahead of Monday live BP

Jun 24, 2024, 8:21 AM | Updated: 12:53 pm

Starter Zac Gallen...

Starter Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Chase Field on May 18, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Zac Gallen is not getting ahead of himself. He knows the Arizona Diamondbacks could pump the brakes even if he comes out cleanly from a live bullpen session on Monday.

It’s approaching a month since Gallen left a May 30 start due to a hamstring injury. He doesn’t know what the next steps are after his throwing session.

“We’re getting there,” Gallen told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Monday morning. “We want to take it as conservative as possible to be smart and not have this thing be a lingering issue throughout the year. I have a live BP today, sim-game, whatever you want to call it. But yeah, feeling pretty good. Hopefully, it’s not too much longer here. I’ve been progressing pretty well and trying to identify just certain things that could maybe be tweaked in terms of delivery and stuff like that.”

Gallen has already thrown a simulation game and a couple of live bullpens, and he’s expected to build his pitch count into the 60s Monday at Salt River Fields, according to AZCentral’s Nick Piecoro. Could he be activated after that?

“That’s usually above my paygrade,” the D-backs ace said on Arizona Sports. “As soon as I was able to get off the mound I wanted to pitch in a game and they told me, ‘no, that’s not going to happen.’ Obviously, I hope that if everything goes well, hopefully it’s not too much longer. At the same time, I know that as much as I want to get out there as fast as possible, the team, they have my best interest at heart.”

Still, it could matter that Arizona is limping along with two losses in a row before a pair of three-game home series against the Twins and A’s this week.

The Philadelphia Phillies dropped the Diamondbacks 12-1 on Saturday, leading to Arizona starting pitcher Tommy Henry getting sent to Triple-A Reno having allowed half of the runs in just 3.2 innings.

Fellow D-backs pitcher Slade Cecconi took the 4-1 loss on Sunday, lasting 3.0 innings and allowing an earned run in a game where Arizona’s offense didn’t find life once again.

The Diamondbacks have been down starter Eduardo Rodriguez all year and Merrill Kelly since mid-April. Their returns remain uncertain, with Kelly revealing over the weekend he is targeting a mid-August comeback.

Arizona (38-40) has survived so far. But there is urgency to get at least Gallen back to keep the team’s head above water.

“Yeah, those guys have been great,” Gallen said of Cecconi, Ryne Nelson and veteran Jordan Montgomery holding down the primary starting spots. “It just shows kind of the culture that we have, just those guys being able to step up and stay ready. Especially like Slade who’s going up and down, and then has made some really big starts for us. I can’t imagine that’s very easy to do. Especially you’re having a few good starts, you have a bad one, you get sent to Reno and then an injury happens, ‘hey, we need you to come back up.’ A testament to him, staying ready, being able to work.

“Same thing with Nelson … he’s like, ‘hey, I got to work on some things and whatnot and be able to make these outings a little more efficient.’ For him to do that in such a tight spot and be able to grow and get better while the team is counting on him as much as we are right now just shows a lot.”

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