D-backs hoping to get Tommy Henry back by end of season, more likely in bullpen
Aug 21, 2023, 6:08 PM
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo did not close the book on left-hander Tommy Henry’s season after the club moved him to the 60-day injured list on Sunday.
Henry went on the IL retroactive to July 29 for left elbow inflammation, so 60 days would stretch to the final two series of the regular season.
“I think there’s still an opportunity for us to ramp him up and have him ready at the very, very, very tail end of the season,” Lovullo said. “So that’s going to be our mindset, we need to get him healthy and have him feel better.”
Lovullo said it would be difficult to ramp Henry back up to 80 pitches or so by then, so he’s looking at a bullpen role for the 26-year-old if he returns.
“If he’s an asset for us out of the bullpen and he’s ready, I think that would be a consideration.”
Lovullo was alerted that Henry felt discomfort following his latest start on July 28 against the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field. The 2019 draftee had a 4.15 ERA in 17 outings — 16 starts — this year after making his MLB debut in 2022. He threw 1.1 scoreless innings in his long relief appearance this year.
Lovullo said Henry was feeling “more asymptomatic” in the past couple days, but he did not have a timetable for his throwing program.
The Diamondbacks have shuffled their rotation throughout the second half of the season with Henry, Zach Davies and Merrill Kelly spending time on the injured list. Ryne Nelson was optioned to Triple-A Reno on Aug. 12, and pitchers who get optioned cannot return to the majors for a minimum of 15 days unless for an injury replacement.
The rotation as it stands has Zac Gallen, Kelly, Brandon Pfaadt and Slade Cecconi, who had an opener placed in front of him Monday against the Texas Rangers. Arizona selected Nabil Crismatt, who has started games in the minors, while Davies has thrown in three rehab starts.
Zach Davies improving
Davies, who landed on the IL with a back issue on July 19, threw six innings, 87 pitches and allowed three earned runs for the Aces on Sunday. Lovullo did not commit to Davies returning this week but said, “If he’s ready, we’re definitely going to need him.”
The veteran experienced a bleak stretch of starts before going on the IL, allowing 30 earned runs over 29.1 innings in six outings.
His last rehab start was his most effective after he allowed 11 runs in 7.1 innings over his first two.
“I think the first time you go out there just trying to find yourself get get the ball over the plate, throw it to different areas,” Lovullo said.
“It trended better with each pitch and each outing, and this last outing was really good. I think there was a bigger mixture of pitches. There were pitches that were setting up other pitches, intentional balls that were thrown. So it was a pretty good outing for him.”
Gallen will start Tuesday against the Rangers, and after him is TBA. Arizona has four games against the Cincinnati Reds from Thursday-Sunday, a matchup between two playoff hopefuls that entered Monday tied in the National League Wild Card race at 64-61.
“We’re walking through the whole thing,” Lovullo said.
D-backs using an opener
Arizona initially had Cecconi slated to start Monday’s game but decided to switch to using Joe Mantiply as an opener on Sunday evening.
Mantiply will deal with Nathaniel Lowe and Corey Seager, two lefties among the top three hitters of Texas’ lineup.
“We felt very strongly that it would match up well with a couple of their hitters early in their lineup,” Lovullo said.
“Slade is a young pitcher and we want to just give him the ability to compete and go out there for as long as possible. … I think at this point in time, we got to find ways to be creative. That’s really what it came down to. We got to be able to win those inches. We feel like this is going to be a way for us to do that today.”
First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.