Weaver's short start, exit 'precautionary'

May 17th, 2021

PHOENIX -- knows the current state of the D-backs’ roster. Six players had been added to the injured list over the previous four days, bringing the team’s big league IL total to 10. The right-hander didn’t want to become the 11th man out of action.

So when Weaver began feeling some discomfort in his right shoulder during the fourth inning of Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Nationals at Chase Field, he informed manager Torey Lovullo. At that time, the decision was made for Weaver to be removed from the game after four scoreless innings of one-hit ball.

“I feel good now,” Weaver said. “I think it was just precautionary, the way our team has been hurting a little bit and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t a part of that, and I made the right decision.”

Weaver didn’t feel right as he got deeper into his outing. He felt he was fighting against some “erratic control” that contributed to numerous long at-bats and a pair of two-out walks in the third.

While working through those mechanical issues, Weaver tried to make an adjustment in the fourth, but he believes he made the wrong one. It led to a drop in velocity from the third, when Weaver was touching 95.6 mph with his fastball, to the fourth, when his hardest pitch came in at 92.6 mph. He described the feeling he was experiencing as a “charley horse” in his shoulder.

As the D-backs travel to Los Angeles to begin a four-game series against the Dodgers, Weaver will be staying in Arizona to undergo an MRI on Monday. However, he doesn’t think it will reveal any additional issues, and he’s optimistic this won’t become a bigger problem.

“I feel pretty confident to be honest, knowing my body, but I’m not the expert when it comes to human anatomy,” Weaver said. “We’ll make sure that [Monday] when I get the imaging done that it’ll be precautionary and to double-check things. But everything felt strong, all the testing [so far] went really well.”

Weaver’s early departure came at a time when he was continuing his recent run of success. He retired the first eight batters of the game, escaped a two-out bases-loaded jam in the third and sat down Washington’s hitters in order in the fourth.

After recording a 6.07 ERA through his first six starts, Weaver has pitched 10 1/3 scoreless innings with five hits allowed and nine strikeouts over his last two outings.

“We love the way he’s been throwing the baseball. It’s two very, very good starts,” Lovullo said. “It’s about what he’s doing inside of that that stands out to me. It’s conviction with his fastball, it’s throwing it in all sorts of the strike zone and throwing his changeup or secondary stuff off of that. It’s a simple recipe, but he deserves so much credit for cooking it up just right.”

Even though Weaver’s discomfort may not lead to an IL stint, it was a tough week nonetheless for the D-backs.

During Arizona’s 3-4 homestand -- which included a four-game split with Miami and a series loss to Washington -- catcher Carson Kelly (left big toe tuft fracture), infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera (right hamstring strain), right-handers J.B. Bukauskas (right elbow flexor strain) and Zac Gallen (right UCL sprain) and first baseman Christian Walker (right oblique soreness) all went on the 10-day IL. Also, righty Chris Devenski (right UCL sprain) was placed on the 60-day IL.

“I have not seen anything like this for this stretch of time,” Lovullo said. “I wake up each morning thinking today is going to be a healthy, clean day, and there’s a little surprise waiting for us at the end of a game. That’s just the nature of the beast, and that happens. I want us to have the mindset of not saying, ‘Wow, what’s next?’ I want us to have the mindset of, ‘Bring it. What’s next? We got this, and we will handle it.’"

And that’s exactly why Weaver came out of Sunday’s game when he did.

“I just felt like for me, personally, in that moment I just didn’t want anything to go further than that,” Weaver said, “and to stay healthy and to not create anything bigger than what it was.”