PHOENIX -- The D-backs have a partial rotation for their upcoming three-game series at Nationals ParkIt'll be Taijuan Walker on Tuesday night and Robbie Ray on Wednesday night. A starter for Thursday afternoon's tilt is still to be determined, manager Torey Lovullo said on Sunday prior to his club's series
PHOENIX -- The D-backs have a partial rotation for their upcoming three-game series at Nationals Park
It'll be Taijuan Walker on Tuesday night and Robbie Ray on Wednesday night. A starter for Thursday afternoon's tilt is still to be determined, manager Torey Lovullo said on Sunday prior to his club's series finale against the Rockies at Chase Field.
One thing is for sure, it won't be Archie Bradley.
"I know I said we would have some answers, but the biggest thing everybody wanted to know about is Archie and it will not be Archie," Lovullo said. "He will remain in our bullpen. The way we look at it is he's been pretty dominant in the bullpen.
"That's where he's shown a comfort level. For right now, we want to continue with that and allow him to be as dominant as he has been. It made a lot of sense for me."
Bradley, a former starter who the D-backs still project to eventually return to that role, has been one of the brightest surprises of the season's first month working out of the bullpen in late-inning relief.
Across the board, Bradley's statistics reflect stellar performance, including a quick disposal of the two batters he faced on Saturday night to close out the Rockies' half of the eighth in a 7-6 loss.
Bradley has a 1.13 ERA after tossing a scoreless inning in the D-backs' 2-0 win in 13 innings over the Rockies on Sunday, having allowed two earned runs on nine hits in 16 innings.
And with closer Fernando Rodney having blown his last two saves and lost those games, including Saturday's contest, it's fair to speculate that Bradley might replace Rodney if those problems continue. Rodney has a 12.60 ERA, having allowed 14 earned runs on 16 hits in just 10 innings. He had converted his first six save opportunities.
Lovullo has not be willing to address that possibility up to this point.
"Long term, we're still going to project [Bradley] as a starter," he said. "That'll be another conversation at a different point in time. During our discussions, we're going to consider all options. But for right now I felt that for the good of this team moving forward he's best for us coming out of the bullpen."
The conjecture over the fifth starter was created because of the elbow injury to Shelby Miller, who will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the season and beyond.
The D-backs recalled Zack Godley from Triple-A Reno for a spot start against the Padres this past Wednesday, but optioned him back to Reno right after the game. Because a player optioned can't be recalled for 10 days, Godley is not a possibility for Thursday.
Lovullo said that a starter would come from the system, but not necessarily off the big league club. Aside from Bradley, Randall Delgado has starting experience, but he's not stretched out, having thrown only 12 2/3 innings over nine appearances. Delgado has made 48 starts, most of them earlier in his six-year career for the Braves and D-backs.
On the Reno pitching staff, Braden Shipley, Anthony Banda and Keyvius Sampson are all options. Shipley made 11 starts for the D-backs last season, and Sampson made 14 starts for the Reds, 12 of them in 2015.
"Those are the discussions we're having," Lovullo said. "And within the system there are a variety of options for us. So, we'll hammer that out. That's a discussion we'll be having as a group over the next few days."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.