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D-backs Game Preview, #5: 4/12 vs. Astros

A new Diamondback joins the roster

MLB: Texas Rangers at Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

ASTROS DIAMONDBACKS
Jose Altuve - 2B Daulton Varsho - CF
Michael Brantley - LF Ketel Marte - 2B
Alex Bregman - 3B David Peralta - LF
Yuli Gurriel - 1B Christian Walker - 1B
Kyle Tucker - RF Pavin Smith - RF
Aledmys Diaz - DH Seth Beer - DH
Jeremy Pena - SS Sergio Alcantara - 3B
Jason Castro - C Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Jose Siri - CF Jose Herrera - C
Luis Garcia - RHP M. Bumgarner - LHP

This should have been Zac Gallen’s first outing of the season. But that has been pushed back after the pitcher suffered a freak cut on his finger (more on that below), to the upcoming Mets series over the weekend. With the off-day yesterday, Madison Bumgarner can start tonight’s contest on his usual rest, with Merrill Kelly following him to the mound tomorrow night. Thereafter... We’ll see, what with Gallen’s finger issue and Caleb Smith last precisely one inning in his season debut against the Padres. But at least it does not appear to be any recurrence of the shoulder problems which slowed Gallen’s entrance this spring, and led to him being dropped into the #5 rotation slot.

Roster moves

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled INF Yonny Hernandez (No. 19) from Triple-A Reno.
  • Yesterday, optioned INF Drew Ellis to Reno.

Well, that did not take long. Ellis got three starts at third-base in the opening series, going 1-for-8 with four strikeouts, and didn’t exactly look good doing it, also making an error. An interesting choice to see Hernandez get the call up. He was picked up from the Rangers in a trade five days ago, in exchange for minor-leaguer Jeferson Espinal. Yonny played 43 games for them last year, mostly at third, hitting .217/.315/.252 for a .567 OPS (OPS+ 61). I wonder if he’s a stop-gap for the still absent Wilmer Difo, last heard of still sitting in the Dominican Republic due to visa problems. He is not on the 40-man roster, however, and has also played more as a middle-infielder than at the hot corner.

What’s particularly worthy of note is that Hernandez is listed at only 140 pounds in weight. Per our friends over at Lone Star Ball, “Yonny is the only player in the B-R database with at least 25 games played in the 21st century who is 140 pounds or less” The piece also looks at his numbers, and concludes that his impressive walk rate in the minors was going to be tough to reproduce in the majors. The issue is his power is limited, meaning major-league pitchers would have no problem challenging him in the zone. And so it proved: in the majors he had a walk-rate of 10.2%, which is decent, but well below his minor-league figure of 15.2%. However, being “better than Ellis” is likely a pretty low bar.

Torey Lovullo Pre Game Comments

  • Zac Gallen pushed back to the Mets series. He pinched his thumb in the spring loaded electrical box at home. They want to let the skin heal as much as they can before he pitches. They haven’t decided for sure, but it sounds like it will be Zach Davies on Friday and Gallen on Saturday.
  • Luke Weaver MRI: He was diagnosed with a “Mild” Flexor Pronator Strain. They feel they caught it early and dodged a potential bullet. He is shut down from all throwing for 7-10 days. No exact time table for return was given. Torey was asked about any difficulty Luke might have had getting loose, but he said there were no such issues reported. Nothing popped up that night and he only reported the discomfort the next day. Torey also said that he went with Luke on short notice in part because he needed two innings from whatever reliever he was going to put in next, (he didn’t get it) and also he wanted Luke to get ready quickly without having to think about it too long. He used the phrase “shocking the system”
  • Caleb Smith’s rotation spot may already be in jeopardy. Torey was very non committal when asked if he was going to get another start.
  • Yonny Hernandez: Torey mentioned that Hernandez had a productive series against the D-backs when the Rangers came to town last year. He was 1 for 5, with 2 walks, one sac, and two stolen bases. Torey talked up his baseball IQ and defense. His role will be playing a little bit of 2b and a little bit of 3b. Sergio Alcantara will get most of the playing time at 3

[P.S. I stood next to Yonny Hernandez. He’s listed at 5’9”, 140 but neither are accurate. He’s definitely shorter than that, and he’s quite muscular. I’d guess 5’6 or 5’7” tops, but put his weight closer to 165-170]

  • Drew Ellis: Torey praised his defense, but offensively felt he was making a lot of mistakes mechanically and he felt that before he got in too deep a hole here at the major league level it would be better for him to get things straightened out in Reno.
  • Pitch Com: Feedback is very good, and getting more and more popular. Just one or two guys were using in spring training, but it’s caught fire and just about everybody is using it. There are some pitchers that are not however and they are not forcing it on anyone.

I think it’s speeding up the game. It’s very crisp. I think it’s 10-12 second before the next pitch is delivered. The pace of game is improved. Pitchers seem to like it. I think this is a very good decision this industry has made.

He also mentioned that it forces the hitters to be ready. A lot of hitters are calling time out because they don’t feel ready. Torey would like to see receivers in everybody’s hat. Some pitchers are using only when a runner is on 2b, some are using for every pitch.

  • Carson Kelly sitting tonight against tough righty. Tomorrow is a day game after night, and since he’d need to sit for one of the two games anyway, better to have him start against the lefty. Torey also wanted to see how Jose Herrera and Madison Bumgarner work together as they worked well in spring.
  • Nick Ahmed is engaging in all baseball activities, including throwing.
  • Jordan Luplow has been limited to coach pitch in the cage, and hasn’t gotten on the field yet.
  • Josh Rojas is about to begin his baseball and swing activities soon.

Torey Lovullo audio