MINNEAPOLIS -- It was a surreal weekend for D-backs right-hander Braden Shipley, who along with reliever Jimmie Sherfy was called up from Triple-A Reno on Sunday and immediately saw action in the first inning of Sunday's 12-5 loss to the Twins.
The same need for arms in the bullpen that necessitated Shipley's callup also led to his demotion following the game. Shipley threw 5 2/3 innings in relief of T.J. McFarland, who was making a spot start.
"Ship did a great job," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "He attacked. He had a three-pitch mix. It was 5 2/3 innings, 107 pitches, and on a night when we needed somebody to step up and give us some length out of the bullpen, he did. He saved us and set us up for the next series. A lot of good things came out of that. Unfortunately, we had to option him out after the game. It wasn't one of those things he was deserving of. But that's where we're at right now, and we had to make a change and get a bullpen arm."
The crazy chain of events started Thursday when the D-backs decided to option starter Anthony Banda to Triple-A Reno. That left them without a starter for Sunday.
Their preference was to not have to make any other roster moves and opt for a bullpen game, led by McFarland, on Sunday. But when Zack Greinke lasted just four innings Saturday night, the 'pen had to cover four frames.
In case of such an event, the D-backs had scratched Shipley from his Thursday start in Reno and flew him to Minneapolis on Saturday. Following that night's game, Arizona optioned J.J. Hoover and Silvino Bracho to Reno and called Shipley at the team hotel to let him know that he was indeed going to be activated for Sunday's game.
Whether Shipley was going to pitch depended on how deep McFarland got, and as it turned out, he didn't get very far; McFarland was only able to retire one batter.
"I went out there and tried to give our team a chance to win there, and I didn't pitch well," McFarland said. "I felt great coming in, I had my legs, I felt good. Just went out and didn't execute pitches when I needed to."
Shipley allowed a grand slam to the third batter he faced -- and two homers more in the fifth -- but he did chew up valuable innings in order to lessen the burden on the bullpen.
"As pitchers, you know, there's days like that and I was just trying to go out and give the team a chance and give them innings and help save the bullpen," Shipley said. "I was glad I was able to just go out there and attack the strike zone and get them deep in the ballgame."
After the game, he got the news that his fourth stint in the big leagues this year was over, and he was headed back to Reno.
"I understand it's part of the game, and you just kind of take it with a grain of salt and go back down there and continue to do my work and fine-tune some things," Shipley said.
Sherfy made his big league debut in the eighth and retired the side in order.