Diamondbacks call up prospect Yilber Diaz, Ketel Marte back in lineup vs. Braves

Jul 8, 2024, 3:24 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm

Yilber Diaz...

Yilber Diaz #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a pitch during the third inning of a spring training Spring Breakout game against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 16, 2024 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

(Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks selected the contract of Yilber Diaz, a 23-year-old pitching prospect who will make his MLB debut Monday against the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field.

The D-backs optioned left-handed reliever Joe Jacques to create the roster spot, while Arizona had a 40-man slot open.

Diaz is coming off winning the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week after throwing six shutout innings with 13 strikeouts for Triple-A Reno in his latest start. The right-hander has only made four starts at the Triple-A level but performed well with a 3.27 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 22 innings.

He has used a three-pitch mix this season with a 95-98 mph fastball, hard slider and curveball.

“There’s been a bit of refinement with the fastball command that’s been outstanding,” Aces pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru told Arizona Sports last week. “The slider-cutter, he calls it a cutter but I still think it’s a slider velo-wise, it’s deceptive. Hitters can’t make a swing decision on it in time. And the curveball is still, I wouldn’t say it’s there, but it’s a lot closer than it was … The bite is there, it’s just just throwing for strikes.”

Diaz spent most of the year with Double-A Amarillo, where he struck out 77 batters in 54 innings with a 4.33 ERA.

The D-backs have maneuvered with the rotation all season due to injuries, and Jordan Montgomery landing on the 15-day IL retroactive to June 29 with knee inflammation created opportunities for first looks.

Cristian Mena made his MLB debut Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, giving up four earned runs before recording an out and pushing through three innings to keep the game close.

Arizona optioned the 21-year-old after the start and elected to role with Diaz to start the homestand.

“He’s grown up in our system, and we are so proud of him for making today happen,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Diaz’s debut.

“It’s a lot of fastball, it’s the ability to spin a breaking ball — slider and a curveball — and the command has been improving rapidly. His last outing in Triple-A was a very successful one. We want that to be the case here. We’ve tried to tell all of our youngsters, it’s the exact same game, exact same plate size. He’s got to be able to throw pitches where you want and follow a game plan.”

Ketel Marte back in the lineup

Diamondbacks All-Star second baseman Ketel Marte will bat second and take the field on Monday after he missed the past two games with back tightness.

Arizona pinch-hit for Marte in the ninth inning of Friday’s series opener at the San Diego Padres, and the club announced he was considered day-to-day.

Braves recall Bryce Elder

The Braves recalled right-handed pitcher Bryce Elder to start at Chase Field opposite Diaz on Monday.

Chris Sale was projected to be in the starting slot but is moved back for extra rest. Sale is now expected to match up against Arizona ace Zac Gallen on Tuesday.

Elder was an All-Star last season with a 2.97 ERA going into the break, but he has not seen the same success since and has gone back and forth between the majors and minors. He has six MLB starts this season with a 5.76 ERA and 4.69 FIP.

Atlanta also selected the contract of outfielder Eddie Rosario, who spent 2021-23 with the Braves, was released by the Nationals last week and brought back to Atlanta. He hit a game-winning grand slam off Miguel Castro last year at Chase Field.

Rosario will start in left field on Monday.

First pitch Monday is at 6:40 p.m. MST. Catch the game on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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