The Arizona Diamondbacks are having conversations on what to do regarding the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
Zac Gallen, Madison Bumgarner, Merrill Kelly and Zach Davies make up the top four, but Humberto Castellanos is on the 60-day injured list with a strained right elbow.
Manager Torey Lovullo opted to run a bullpen game Sunday, June 12, before giving Luke Weaver the ball last Saturday.
Weaver threw two very effective innings before his velocity dropped and he started missing over the middle of the plate. He allowed nine earned runs in 3.2 innings against the Minnesota Twins.
The fifth rotation spot is due this weekend, after an off day Thursday.
Arizona has another day off on Monday, which presents an opportunity to run a four-man rotation for a short stretch. Lovullo will consider that measure, as unideal as it is.
“I don’t think we need to start until July 5, so we can redline this thing and go full throttle and say, ‘Look, we’re going to go with the four-man rotation and ask these guys to step up every fifth day without getting that extra day,’” Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo Tuesday afternoon.
“To be honest with you, there was something that Mike Hazen and I talked about when we were looking over the schedule at the start of the season in my office at Chase Field. He said, ‘Look, when we get to this point with this group and have off days … This is when I want to give guys an extra day or two if needed, because we’re going to make a strong push towards the second half of the season and we need all of our guys to be healthy.’”
Weaver remains an option despite the difficult outing. The 28-year-old started 13 games in 2021 before starting this season in the bullpen. He threw the ball well in relief on June 12 after lefty Kyle Nelson opened the game.
The D-backs also had “a lot of eyes” on veteran southpaw Dallas Keuchel’s outing in the Arizona Complex League. Keuchel signed a minor league contract earlier this month and threw seven innings with two earned runs allowed on Monday in the ACL.
Lovullo said he wants to hear what his other coaches have to say before making a decision.
“We haven’t made up our minds yet,” Lovullo said. “But we will finalize that here. We’ve got to let these guys know because the start, if it is Saturday or Sunday … these guys gotta throw bullpens and they’ve got to prepare mentally. So we’ve got to figure it out as soon as possible. We will get that conversation started here immediately.”
D-backs second baseman Ketel Marte is back in the lineup Tuesday after missing the past four games with a hamstring strain.
Marte will be the designated hitter and bat third against San Diego Padres lefty Sean Manaea.
Lovullo said Marte is not at full strength but good enough to hit.
“He might not be able to run and sprint as fast as he normally can, we’re fine with that,” Lovullo said. “We need that that right-handed hitting presence in our lineup. So with that being said, Ketel is ready to go.”
The ballgame begins at 6:40 p.m. Tune in on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.