Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeLatest NewsDiamondbacks’ Zac Gallen likely to make debut Saturday vs. Mets - The...

Diamondbacks’ Zac Gallen likely to make debut Saturday vs. Mets – The Arizona Republic

Right-hander Zac Gallen said he cut his right thumb at home while trying to fix a broken sprinkler system, but he was adamant in saying he could have made his scheduled start on Tuesday regardless.

“They just want to be a little cautious, give it a little bit of time to heal,” Gallen said. “But I stressed my opinion — very strongly — that I was good to pitch. They’re just looking out for me and the team. In that sense, I appreciate it.”

Rather than pitching Tuesday against the Houston Astros, Gallen likely will start on Saturday against the New York Mets. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner was moved up a day to start on Tuesday and right-hander Merrill Kelly, who was scheduled for Friday, will instead pitch Wednesday afternoon.

Gallen said he noticed plants starting to die out and looked around inside the sprinkler control box before moving on to the electrical box.

“I opened it and my thumb just got caught on the little flaps,” he said.

Gallen said the cut is minor, adding that he threw a bullpen session on Sunday without issue. He said he “could have pitched 1,000 times out of 1,000” on Tuesday had he been permitted to do so.

“It’s something we’re going to push back as far as we can to let that thing heal so it doesn’t bother him the whole year,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I don’t think it will, no matter what. I think he could pitch right now. But we want to be extra sure that skin is healed up.”

A New Jersey native, Gallen said the bright side is that he will get to make his season debut in front of family and friends.

Lovullo said the club was leaning toward having Zach Davies pitch Friday’s series opener in New York with Gallen following him on Saturday.

Lovullo would not say who would start on Sunday, and he made no assurances about left-hander Caleb Smith getting another start after giving up five runs (four earned) in one-plus inning against the San Diego Padres.

“We’re talking about everything under the sun,” Lovullo said when asked about Smith’s status in the rotation. “We haven’t quite got there yet.”

Change at third

The Diamondbacks optioned third baseman Drew Ellis to Triple-A Reno and recalled infielder Yonny Hernandez, wasting little time in search of more production at the hot corner.

Ellis went just 1 for 8 with four strikeouts in three games against the Padres. He never seemed comfortable at the plate in spring training, either, going just 3 for 25 with 11 strikeouts in Cactus League games.

“This is a tough level to figure some things out and make some adjustments,” Lovullo said. “We figured this was the safest bet to get moving in a very positive direction.”

Ellis made the team because infielder Josh Rojas suffered an oblique strain late in spring training.

Hernandez was acquired from the Texas Rangers in an Opening Day trade. He had gone 0 for 10 with two walks with Reno.

“We’re still learning about him,” Lovullo said. “We know he came in here last year with the Rangers and had a pretty productive series. Those that know him told me he’s a very good baseball player. High baseball IQ, understands what his role is inside of the lineup, quality defender.”

Lovullo said Sergio Alcantara and Hernandez are likely to share time at third.

Weaver update

Right-hander Luke Weaver has a mild flexor pronator strain, Lovullo said, framing the diagnosis as relatively good news.

“We feel like we dodged a potential bullet,” Lovullo said.

Weaver, bumped from the rotation at the end of spring training, pitched in relief on Opening Day, throwing 23 pitches in two-thirds of an inning. His fastball velocity was down more than 1 mph from what he averaged as a starter last season.

Weaver had a mild flexor strain in addition to a ulnar collateral ligament sprain during the 2019 season, an injury that cost him four months.

Lovullo made it sound like this issue was far less severe; he said Weaver, who is on the 10-day injured list, will not throw for seven to 10 days.

Difo update

Infielder Wilmer Difo might be nearing a resolution to the visa issues that have prevented him from entering the United States. The Diamondbacks agreed to sign him to a minor league contract last season.

Sources say he has an appointment scheduled for Wednesday with the consulate in the Dominican Republic, after which he should be cleared to travel.

Difo, 30, who hit .269/.329/.384 in 219 at-bats last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, will need to get at-bats, likely in Triple-A, before he could be an option for a major league roster spot.

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or nick.piecoro@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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