Last night saw the first significant step as Robbie Ray returns from being struck in the head on a batted ball. After taking a 108 MPH line drive off the bat of Luke Voit on July 28th, Ray has been on the 7 then the 10-Day DL for a concussion. After facing hitters in a simulated game last week, Ray pitched for the Diamondbacks’ Class A-Advanced affiliate last night. He went 4 2⁄3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11 on 80 pitches. For everyone emotionally invested in the Diamondbacks’ season, that was a great sign.
The Diamondbacks front office had to be impressed with the way he handled himself in that game, as they now plan to activate him for the upcoming series against the Mets. With Ray pitching last night, that means his next start will be either Tuesday or Wednesday. With Zack Godley, Zack Greinke, and Anthony Banda going for the Twins series over the weekend and Taijuan Walker scheduled to pitch the first game of the Mets series, the team might schedule Ray’s next start for Tuesday. Then they can split up the two Zacks by moving Patrick Corbin back a day and putting Godley between Ray and Corbin.
The obvious 25-man roster move will be to option Banda to AAA. If the move happens on Sunday or Monday, then Banda would be eligible to return when the rosters expand on September. With the Diamondbacks magic number for clinching a postseason berth down to 37, they need all their best players available down the stretch.