Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Merrill Kelly felt some discomfort in his right foot on Sunday, a day after starting against the San Francisco Giants.
Manager Torey Lovullo said Kelly was evaluated in San Francisco and stayed an extra night as a precaution. The veteran has been diagnosed with a small clot in his leg and the D-backs placed him on the 15-day disabled list with calf inflammation.
“I think we caught this at the right time,” Lovullo said. “I don’t want to put a timetable on it. It will depend on how he continues to progress, but he is already feeling better.”
Lovullo said he hopes Kelly will be out no more than 15 days and compared the situation to Ian Kennedy’s last season. Kennedy had a small blood clot in his right calf and spent 16 days in IL before returning to the bullpen in Arizona.
Kelly will continue to play catch while in IL, and whether or not he will begin a rehab or not has yet to be determined.
“It’s disgusting, for sure,” first baseman Christian Walker said. “We had a lot of faith in Merrill. He seems to have pretty good energy about all things. I hope it’s not too long. First of all, he’s feeling better and doing better.”
Meanwhile, the D-backs will have to navigate at least two weeks without their No. 2 behind Zac Gallen. The rotation, aside from Kelly and Gallen, has struggled at times even though youngsters Tommy Henry and Ryne Nelson are coming off some of their best work.
Henry has gone 13.2 innings with three earned runs over his last two outings, while Nelson threw seven frames of one-run ball Sunday.
Gallen pitches Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays with veteran Zach Davies slated for Wednesday. Lovullo said he wasn’t ready to name a starter for Thursday’s series finale against Tampa Bay, but he noted that Henry will pitch in Anaheim against the Angels over the weekend.
Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro said Tuesday that RHP Brandon Pfaadt is the likely replacement for Kelly.
Pfaadt has been excellent for Triple-A Reno since being sent down from Arizona on May 27 after a rough first venture in the majors.
Perspective no. 3 of the D-backs has gone 25.2 innings with nine earned runs (3.16 ERA), five walks and 28 strikeouts since his option.
“I told him to reflect and see that you’re not just going to come in here and dominate right away,” pitching coach Brent Strom said after Arizona selected Pfaadt. “I think for the first time in his career, he pinned his ears back a little and he’s never experienced that before. … I think it would be better when he comes back.”
Where are the D-backs with Joe Mantiply?
The D-backs selected Mantiply among roster moves that also included recalling Kevin Ginkel and 21-year-old Justin Martinez from Triple-A Reno.
Mantiply gave up eight runs in eight innings in his second return from the injured list this season.
Lovullo said he and Mantiply had a coaching conversation, with the veteran taking to heart what he needs to do to get back.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” Lovullo said. “I think he got hurt twice, never ran, never got in a full or full spring training. We were trying to give him all that time, but out of necessity, we brought him back here and he never made that run. So what’s next for him? He has to come down and perform.”
Welcome to the Show
Martinez, now the youngest player on the active roster, adds some punch to the D-backs with a triple-digit fastball and separation that has served as his departure pitch.
3️⃣ K in 1️⃣.2️⃣ queue of work for our flamethrower ⛽️
— Reno Aces (@Aces) June 18, 2023
He signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 and has already passed Tommy John surgery in 2021.
“Mentally, it’s been a very difficult journey, but thankfully with the support of my family, my friends I’ve managed to get here and I’m looking to stay here,” Martinez said through a translator.
Martinez has not started a game in the minors since the surgery, but returned to the mound in 2022 as a reliever.
The D-backs added him to the 40-man roster this past offseason to avoid the Rule 5 Draft, and Lovullo will be monitoring his command closely.
“It’s power stuff, I know it’s 100, 101, 102 and I love that power,” Lovullo said. “But it’s about throwing where you want and what you’re going to make of it. That’s the most important thing, and that’s what he’s done very well recently in Reno.”
Martinez said zone control will be key to his success.
The 6-foot-3 pitcher has had trouble limiting walks in spots in his career, including this year when he walked 10 hitters in his first five innings.
But he’s racked up strikeouts and scoreless innings over the past month, plus one earned run allowed over his last 23.1 innings with 31 strikeouts.