Weaver retires six straight in his first start off IL

September 22nd, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- For the record, the D-backs beat the Padres, 4-2, on Saturday night, but the biggest development at Petco Park for the visitors was the fact was back on the mound.

The D-backs’ right-hander returned to action for the first time since May 26, when he suffered a right flexor pronator strain and a right UCL sprain in a start against the Giants.

“The fact that he’s healthy, stood on the mound and felt good about the outing, that’s the most impressive thing for us,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

Though he was scheduled to throw a maximum of 30 pitches, the D-backs elected to have him start the game so he could go through his regular pregame routine.

While the routine might have been the same, the emotions most definitely were not.

“I felt excited, a little nervous,” Weaver said. “Just trying to harness those [emotions] and just trying not to let the game get bigger than it should -- I thought I did that pretty well tonight. Just threw some pitches in some spots and got some quick outs and let the team do the rest of the work.”

Weaver looked like he hadn’t missed any time, as his first fastball of the game registered at 95 mph and he touched 96 mph at one point.

“I think that was a very good sign,” Weaver said of the velocity. “You’ve got to take a couple peeks back just to see where you’re at sometimes.”

Weaver, who was acquired from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade last offseason, retired all six batters he faced while throwing 19 pitches, 13 for strikes.

Was it as easy as it looked?

“It felt like a grind,” Weaver said.

The D-backs are counting on Weaver to be a big piece in the front end of their rotation for years to come, so getting to see him up on the mound, healthy and with his velocity back where it was -- not to mention getting outs -- was a relief for the organization.

“He can check the box that he got back on the mound and was healthy for the last month of the season,” Lovullo said. “I think it’ll get him ready for a healthy 2020.”

The D-backs are still mathematically alive in the race for the second National League Wild Card spot, but only barely – five games behind the Brewers. With that in mind, the final score was not as important as Weaver’s outing.

“Just really to get back out there,” Weaver said. “Not only to show my stuff, but to show the world that all the work I’ve been putting in to get back out there that I’m ready to go.”

Lovullo would not commit to whether Weaver would get another chance to pitch this season, saying he wanted to talk it over with his staff, the medical team and the front office first.

Weaver was just happy to get this game under his belt, which will allow him to go into the offseason with some peace of mind knowing that his arm is healthy.

“That was a very big thing for me,” he said. “I hope to maybe pitch again. If I don’t, I’m content with how this process has gone and the progress that has been made. So, it’s a win-win either way.”