PHOENIX, Ariz. – For a team that has already used 16 different relievers in the first month of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks could really use a steady arm down in the bullpen.
Enter Josh Collmenter.
“It definitely hasn’t gone to script, and I don’t think for anybody, for what they probably anticipated going into the season with the starting pitching depth they added,” he said Sunday, following a long toss session out in the left field grass at Chase Field.
“It’s been weird to see that many guys come and go in the bullpen in just a month’s time,” Collmenter added. “I think there’s definitely a place where I can go in and hopefully provide some stability and some length; somebody that can cover three or four innings so you don’t have to see so many guys come and go.”
That’s expected soon, possibly as early as next week.
When the D-backs head to Miami to start a nine-game road trip, Collmenter will be on his way to California, where he’ll begin a week’s stay with Single-A Visalia on a rehab assignment.
“It’s exciting just because it’s one step closer,” he said. “Hopefully we’re getting closer to being back.”
Collmenter has been on the 15-day disabled list since before the start of the season with right shoulder inflammation.
He pitched twice last week in extended-spring training, throwing a scoreless inning against the Rockies on April 25 and then two innings against the Giants on April 28, when he allowed three runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
In two games, Collmenter threw 40 pitches.
“I feel really good,” he said. “(The arm) feels back to normal. How it feels throwing, how it feels bouncing back, it feels just like any other time, any other year. It seems like everything is in the past and everything is ready to go.”
Collmenter struggled in spring training with a 9.69 ERA.
Opponents hit .321 off him with 17 hits, including five home runs, in 13.0 innings pitched over eight appearances.
Though all tests, including an MRI, came back negative, the shoulder just wasn’t feeling right or responding well.
Collmenter needed to be shutdown, according to manager Chip Hale.
“Just some rest and a lot of body mechanic-things (the training staff) was doing with him to loosen up his core and all that stuff,” Hale said. “Just stuff that happens over many years of pitching a lot of innings, especially last year when he moved to the bullpen. It’s one thing pitching every fifth day and throwing 110 pitches or something. It’s different when you throw 60 one day and then two days later you’re throwing 40 and then three days later you’re throwing 70. It’s not easy on your body, so maybe (the disabled list) was the best thing that could happen for him.”
The plan is for Collmenter to throw three innings Monday, and then perhaps four later in the week in Visalia.
“Almost build him up like a starter,” Hale said
With the D-backs on the road through May 11, there’s a chance Collmenter rejoins the team during the three-game series in Colorado.
“I would love to be there (with my teammates) as quick as possible,” he said.