Inbox: How will Ray's return shape rotation?

Beat reporter Steve Gilbert answers questions from D-backs fans

June 21st, 2018

What happens when Robbie Ray comes back? Will  go back to Triple-A?
-- @FreeshKidYeesh via Twitter

It appears, judging by the roster move the D-backs made on Wednesday to option Matt Koch to Triple-A Reno and call up reliever , that they will activate to take Koch's spot in the rotation the next time through. As for when Ray returns, he could replace Buchholz in the rotation, or it's possible that Miller might need some time in the bullpen as he regains his arm strength.
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Arizona could also move one of the other starters to the bullpen, as well. Another option (that doesn't sound likely) is the D-backs going with a six-man rotation. We floated that idea by manager Torey Lovullo on Tuesday, and he didn't seem to like it. Buchholz has been very good this season for Arizona, registering a 2.94 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in six starts.
How concerned should we be about 's nail issue? He is our best relief pitcher and my favorite, too.
-- Sandra C., Phoenix

I don't think I would be too concerned just yet. Bradley said he has been pitching with this since Spring Training, and he still has been effective this season with a 2.27 ERA entering the D-backs' series against the Pirates on Thursday. Obviously, it's not ideal for him to be unable to throw his curveball in some games, and my guess is the organization would have preferred that this information never have become public, because you don't want hitters knowing that the only pitch you can throw sometimes is a fastball.
However, because the nail issue comes and goes, hitters still have to respect that Bradley could throw his curveball at any time, since they won't know if his nail is split when facing him on any given night. It sounds like Bradley has worked hard to try to find solutions and that the fake nails, for now, are enough to keep him pitching.
• Bradley dealing with nagging fingernail issue
Steve, Mariners fan from Seattle here. I root for teams with Japanese players to win the World Series. is pretty good! Will he will receive All-Star consideration?
-- Craig O., Seattle

Hirano is having an excellent year for the D-backs and has probably been better than they could have even hoped for when they signed him to a two-year free-agent contract in December. If he continues to perform at this level -- he has a 1.42 ERA through his first 35 appearances -- I think he could certainly get some All-Star consideration. Admittedly, I haven't sat down just yet to look at how the National League roster might shake out.