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D-backs Preview #32: 5/7 @ Mets

Merrill Kelly returns; Wyatt Mathisen leaves

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Tim Locastro - CF Jeff McNeil - 2B
Carson Kelly - C Francisco Lindor - SS
Christian Walker - 1B Michael Conforto - RF
Eduardo Escobar - 2B Pete Alonso - 1B
Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B Dominic Smith - LF
Pavin Smith - RF Kevin Pillar - CF
Nick Ahmed - SS Jonathan Villar - 3B
Josh Rojas - LF James McCann - C
Zac Gallen - RHP David Peterson - LHP

Roster update

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Activated RHP Merrill Kelly from the Injured List.
  • Optioned INF Wyatt Mathisen to Triple-A Reno following last night’s game. He will remain with the team and join the taxi squad.

As was suspected, Kelly’s absence was due to a COVID-19 protocol issue, though going by the brief duration of absence, it appears the pitcher himself did not test positive. If it was someone else, that would explain the discretion, with Merrill not able to say much about the situation. It just needed a couple of days to iron itself out, but it’s done with. He was able to get his usual work in between starts, and throw a bullpen on Wednesday. He rejoined the team on Thursday, and he’ll make his start on Saturday. He also indicated that he has not been vaccinated.

Asked what allows him to come out and be aggressive and throw strikes at times, and at other times fall out of that mode, he responded that preparation and confidence were the keys. He’s tried to learn from instances in the past to snap him out of slumps quicker than what happened to him in 2019. Mathisen, meanwhile has struggled at the plate, batting .119 with a 25 OPS+. He has had no shortage of appearances - his 23 games played is =7th on the team this year - but just eight of those have been starts. That said, he’s only 3-for-27 in those, so he hasn’t exactly done much with the opportunity. when presented.

The move gives the team 14 pitchers and 12 position players on the active roster. Given the team is on a stretch of twenty games in twenty days, this is presumably to help alleviate the strain on the bullpen. The starters in the Miami series averaged only five innings a start, though this was balanced a bit by Arizona not having to pitch the bottom of the ninth in any of the three games... [Hey, so that’s a positive!] It would be nice if the team could get a good seven innings from Zac Gallen tonight, rather than scrambling for extended coverage again. Though oddly, after last night, Gallen and Bumgarner have both averaged 5.2 innings per start, behind both Kelly (5.4) and Taylor Widener (5.6).

Merrill Kelly audio [or link]

Torey Lovullo notes

  • Torey Lovullo discussed the rotation. In addition to Zac Gallen going today and Merrill Kelly going tomorrow, it sounds like Jon Duplantier is being considered and “in the conversation” for Sunday’s start, but they’re still not ready to make their decision public. Dup is traveling with the team, threw 5 1/3 IP, 68 pitches last Sunday and threw a sim game yesterday. He’s therefore stretched out enough to make a start.
  • Luke Weaver will still get the ball when his next turn comes up next week. Most of the focus of discussion with him is related to the mental aspect of his game and preparation.
  • Ketel Marte is still not ready to play in minor league games. He’s getting four at bats a day and still doing “linear running” with arcs and curves and change of direction. They are not yet at the point to decide “where and when he is going but they are very, very close”, and emphasized he’s feeling very good. That said Torey could not offer a timeline for when Ketel might move to next steps. He was asked if this was considered a grade 2 hamstring strain, since it’s already been a month, but again he would not confirm that.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]