Smith to 'pen; Devenski on restricted list

April 8th, 2021

The D-backs are moving left-hander out of their starting rotation and into the bullpen following a rough first start against the Padres last Saturday.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo declined to say who would take Smith's place in the rotation.

Smith had next been scheduled to start Friday's home opener against the Reds, but Taylor Widener, who started Sunday against San Diego, will be bumped up from Saturday to Friday to take Smith's place. Widener will still be starting on regular rest because the D-backs had last Monday off.

While in some respects the move can be interpreted as a quick hook for Smith, the fact is that he did not pitch well in his final outings of Spring Training either. Over those two games he allowed 12 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings.

Against the Padres last Saturday, Smith allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits while lasting just three innings.

"We just feel like the best thing for this team right now is to put him in the bullpen," Lovullo said. "Just give him a chance to work on a couple things. You know, we feel like he's close. He's got great stuff. We're looking for him to be a little more consistent and we feel like this will give him the opportunity to go and work on a couple things."

Zac Gallen, who opened the year on the injured list, is not a candidate to start this weekend. The right-hander was scheduled to pitch in a backfield game at Salt River Fields on Wednesday night.

Riley Smith, who came on in relief of Smith last Saturday and allowed two earned runs over five innings, could be an option.

"We're obviously going to need to fill that spot," Lovullo said. "We haven't made that decision yet."

Devenski to restricted list
The D-backs placed right-handed reliever on the restricted list for personal reasons just prior to Wednesday night’s game. A club spokesperson said the move was not COVID related.

A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Devenski pitched well enough to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Not saying
Before straining his left calf Sunday afternoon, it appeared that Joakim Soria would be the reliever that Lovullo turned to at the biggest moments of the game.

In that particular game, Lovullo went to the veteran in the eighth with the D-backs holding a two-run lead because the heart of the Padres' order was coming up. Devenski was slated then to pitch the ninth against the bottom of the San Diego lineup.

With Soria out, Lovullo turned to Devenski to protect a one-run lead against the Rockies on Tuesday night.

The right-hander proceeded to allow a game-tying homer to Sam Hilliard, leaving Lovullo tight-lipped about his plans for the late innings going forward.

"I'm not ready to fully commit on any level about what roles guys are going to fill," Lovullo said. "I want to let guys go out perform, allow them to execute the way they know how without any without any guardrails. And then at some point, we'll start to figure out exactly what's happening as far as roles go."