Davies' return could prompt rotation shakeup

May 25th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert’s D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The D-backs have some pitching decisions looming.

Right-hander Zach Davies is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday following a 4 2/3-inning rehab start for Double-A Amarillo over the weekend.

Davies allowed three hits and walked one, but did not allow a run while striking out seven.

The team will decide after Wednesday’s bullpen session whether to activate him right away or if he needs another rehab appearance. Either way, he’ll be rejoining the rotation soon, which means someone will have to go.

Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are secure in their spots, so it will be one of the three rookies -- Tommy Henry, Ryne Nelson or Brandon Pfaadt -- who will likely lose their spot. That would seem to raise the stakes for each of their performances, but general manager Mike Hazen pushed back on that.

“My contention would be regardless of what’s happening externally, every start is a big start for these guys every time because I think the competition within is fierce all the way around,” Hazen said.

Hazen was referring not just to Davies’ return, but also the fact that the organization thinks highly of a number of Triple-A pitchers including Drey Jameson, who started the season in the big leagues, along with Blake Walston, Bryce Jarvis and Slade Cecconi.

Jameson battled Nelson, Henry and Pfaadt for the final rotation spot in Spring Training and when the club decided to go with Nelson, Jameson opened the year in the bullpen. He was shifted back to the rotation where he made three starts before being optioned to Triple-A Reno.

“Drey Jameson is dominating down in Triple-A,” Hazen said. “He’s going to be back here at some point.”

Whether Jameson comes back as a starter or reliever is an open question. As of right now, there are no plans to use him in a relief role but if the D-backs feel they have enough starting pitching depth, Jameson is pitching well and there is a need in the bullpen…well, don’t rule it out.

“If he’s throwing the ball this well as a starter and there’s an opportunity as a starter, then I’d love to have him up here as a starter, too,” Hazen said. “If he’s one of our 13 best pitchers as we move through the season, then he’s going to be on this team.”