August 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Mike Zagurski (49) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Arizona Diamondbacks won 10-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
A busy day for the Diamondbacks roster continues, with the somewhat surprising news that Mike Zagurski's tenure with the team appears to have come to an end with last night's dismal ninth-inning performance, where he allowed four runs on four hits and a walk. Nicknamed "White Flag" by Clefo, Zagurski lived up to his name, with Arizona going 11-21 in his appearances, thanks in part to his 6.14 ERA. Zagurski started the season with the Reno Aces, but was called up to replace Joe Paterson after our LOOGY's early struggles.
Bryan Shaw was sent down on July 22 after a series of wobbly performances - over eight July appearances and six innings, he had been tagged for 11 hits and ten runs, eight of them earned. Perhaps more problematically, he had been struggling with his control, walking more batters than he struck out, and we all know how much Kevin Towers loves that kind of thing! However, Shaw seemed to have recovered a bit of his mojo in Reno: he made eight appearances there too, but held opponents to six hits and two runs, with a greatly-improved K:BB ratio in those games of 10:2.
The departure of Zagurski, following on the heels of our better southpaw reliever Craig Breslow to Boston, leaves the Diamondbacks without a left-handed option out of the bullpen at this point. We've been down this road before, but it will be interesting to see how manager Kirk Gibson handles the situation. I suspect we may see Takashi Saito used somewhat in that role, as over his career he has held left-handed batters to a very respectable line of .220/.285/.310. So it wouldn't surprise me if he becomes our de facto LOOGY, though he'd probably still be expected to get out more than one batter.
It's also possible that the team may look to scrape someone off the waiver wire to fill the role, but I'm not sure there is anyone of decent quality who would be available. In case you're wondering,. Paterson has had a 4.86 ERA with Reno in 33.1 innings, with a somewhat "meh" 30:15 K:BB ratio.