Diamondbacks option Slade Cecconi, reinstate Miguel Castro from IL

Jul 11, 2024, 3:00 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm

Slade Cecconi...

Starter Slade Cecconi #43 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Chase Field on July 10, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks optioned starting pitcher Slade Cecconi after a mixed bag performance against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, the team announced Thursday.

Arizona Sports‘ John Gambadoro first reported the decision.

Arizona reinstated reliever Miguel Castro from the 15-day injured list in a corresponding move.

Cecconi threw four innings and allowed three earned runs with two walks and three strikeouts in a 7-5 victory over Atlanta. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said the club considered using an opener but opted to give Cecconi the start. The plan going in was to let Cecconi take on Atlanta’s lineup twice, and he faced exactly 18 hitters.

“The Slade situation was one that we felt like he lacked a little bit of consistency,” Lovullo said Thursday. “He would show flashes of real good stuff, some dominant stuff, but he couldn’t maintain it. We’re layering in different guys. We’re getting different looks at things, and we’re going to give others some opportunities. You see what’s happened with (Yilber) Diaz.”

The Diamondbacks have four games until the All-Star break, so the decision to send out Cecconi will give the bullpen additional depth for the series finale against the Braves and a weekend matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Arizona can reset its rotation following the break, keeping ace Zac Gallen on normal rest should that be the decision.

The break also gives veteran Jordan Montgomery more time to work his way back from the injured list (knee inflammation), as he threw his first bullpen on Tuesday and has another planned for Friday.

Arizona’s active starters are Brandon Pfaadt, Ryne Nelson, Diaz and Gallen, while Humberto Castellanos is a bulk option.

Cecconi this season has a 6.14 ERA in 66 innings pitched. Opponents have a .378 OPS against him the first time through the order, but that number catapults to 1.240 the second time (entering Wednesday).

He has a 4.80 FIP, 4.12 xERA and keeps the walks down, so there are some positive signs with the peripherals. But he has struggled to get deep into games, which puts a tax on the bullpen. He has recorded at least 15 outs (5.0 innings) once in his last eight starts.

“I think it’s mostly some focus, and not losing focus for no reason,” Lovullo said. “We feel strongly about this, where pitchers pick up infielders and position players pick up pitchers in those moments of crisis, right? You can’t let that fester. So he knows what that looks like, but it’s still hard for him to develop and grow through that, maybe big slug or big hit that he’s got to refocus.

“I said to him, ‘When you start looking at foul poles, that’s when I start looking in the bullpen.”

Castro returns after landing on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation on April 23.

He suffered a setback during his rehab but worked his way to Triple-A Reno on July 3. He made two appearances with the Aces.

The 6-foot-7 reliever has thrown 8.2 MLB innings this season, his second with the D-backs.

“It’s good to get Castro back,” Lovullo said. “He’s been grinding away at getting healthy. He started to throw the ball real good. He had electric stuff in his two rehab outings, and he’s ready for this opportunity and ready to help us win baseball games.”

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