Widener moves to 'pen to manage workload

September 1st, 2021

PHOENIX -- The D-backs will shift to the bullpen for the final month of the season to get a look at some other starting pitchers and to manage the right-hander's workload.

Widener has started 13 games for the D-backs this year, compiling a 4.28 ERA over 61 innings.

The 26-year-old had a couple of stints on the injured list early this season with groin issues. He also missed time three weeks ago when he had flu-like symptoms and the team placed him on the COVID-19 injured list as a precaution.

"We had a discussion with him, and we feel like at this point in time, we've got great evaluation as a starter," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "You know, we want to see what others can do. So that's one part of it. Another part of it is that we want to manage his workload a little bit. We want to give him the ability to go in the bullpen, catch his breath a little bit, see what that looks like. It doesn't mean he's going to be a reliever for the rest of his life. It just means for this point in time, we're going to put him in the bullpen for the remainder of the season and evaluate him as a reliever."

The D-backs reinserted right-hander Luke Weaver into the rotation Wednesday after he had been on the injured list since May 16 with a strained right shoulder.

With the move of Widener to the bullpen, the D-backs could get a longer look at left-hander Tyler Gilbert, who threw a no-hitter in his first big league start on Aug. 14.

Not the last of the moves
With the Major League rosters expanding from 26 to 28 on Wednesday, the D-backs activated Weaver and recalled outfielder Stuart Fairchild from Triple-A Reno. They will likely shift the roster around in the final weeks of the season in order to look at some other Minor Leaguers.

"I'm sure that'll be part of our play, yes," Lovullo said.