Diamondbacks reinstate Zac Gallen to start vs. A’s, option Brandon Hughes

Jun 29, 2024, 9:56 AM | Updated: 12:01 pm

Zac Gallen...

Starting pitcher Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the New York Yankees during the first inning of the MLB game against the New York Yankees at Chase Field on April 02, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks reinstated ace starting pitcher Zac Gallen from the 15-day injured list to take the mound Saturday against the Oakland Athletics.

Arizona optioned left-handed reliever Brandon Hughes after he allowed three home runs in the ninth inning of Friday’s 9-4 loss.

Gallen exited two batters into a start at the New York Mets on May 30 with a right hamstring strain. He landed on the IL a day later and missed nearly a month.

“You could only imagine how everybody felt driving to the ballpark today. We all thought about the same thing. It’s nice to get your ace back,” manager Torey Lovullo said pregame Saturday.

“I know he’s going to be really motivated and extremely ready to go out and execute a really good game plan. I think he’s somebody you can depend on that’s going to work deep into the game. He’s got a great track record of doing that. It’s gonna take some pressure off the bullpen.”

Gallen’s return promises to bring back some stability as Arizona’s stopper. His hamstring had been nagging since he left a start in late April at the Seattle Mariners, but he continued to pitch well and has a 3.12 ERA this season in 57.1 innings. He had four straight quality starts before going down.

The D-backs were already pushing into their starting pitching depth with Eduardo Rodriguez and Merrill Kelly on the injured list with shoulder issues, and the rotation has been subpar after Gallen went down.

Since the start of June, Arizona’s team ERA from starting pitchers entering Saturday was 5.71. Only the Colorado Rockies had a higher ERA (6.54).

The D-backs have also gotten the fourth-fewest innings out of their starters (115) this month. Ryne Nelson, Jordan Montgomery and Slade Cecconi combined for 10.1 innings over the past three games.

“(Gallen) tidies up the entire space, not just the pitchers,” Lovullo said. “He demands that because he goes out and pitches his tail off. He goes out and works his butt off every four days, and he sets a great example. I want everybody to tighten up a little bit.”

The D-backs will look to their All-Star to help end a three-game losing skid.

Hughes, meanwhile, heads to Reno after coming back up on June 23. He has allowed four home runs over his last two innings pitches.

The D-backs and Athletics play at 1:10 on Saturday. Tune to 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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