Diamondbacks Spring Training: March 23, 2021
Eight days remain in Arizona Diamondbacks spring training for 2021.
Zac Gallen has a hairline stress fracture of his right forearm at the radial head. Manager Torey Lovullo said Gallen can, at the doctor’s recommendation, play catch to a lower stress level so he’s not “totally deconditioned.” There is no timeline at this point, but the team will keep us updated. “Zac’s health is our biggest concern, and we are not going to put him in jeopardy in any way.” There is no damage to tendons, ligaments, or muscles. Gallen is “asymptomatic” other than throwing his curveball.
It was definitely a result of getting jammed on two straight pitches in batting practice. Despite this, Lovullo’s position on the designated hitter remains the same. He loves the strategy of managing in the National League. “However, I’m not thrilled about having one of our main guys get injured.” Other than liking the strategy of the National League game, he has no opinion one way or the other on the designated hitter and will support whatever the league decides.
This is better news than Lovullo feared. He obviously does not want anyone to be hurt, but this is better than what it could have been. Stress fractures are typically see a recovery period of 6-8 weeks. However, this specific injury is so rare that it might not necessarily have this recovery period. Fans should not expect to see Gallen back by the start of the regular season, although that’s not a guarantee.
Gallen played catch Tuesday and felt great. No symptoms at all. However, until he’s asymptomatic on every pitch and gets a “clean bill of health,” they will not put Gallen on the mound in a game situation.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Lovullo had not talked to Gallen since the official diagnosis.
Gallen is Kelly’s throwing partner, so Kelly certainly did not like the injury news. “It’s not very fun.” However, he is encouraged by the injury being one that “doesn’t sound too bad.” Kelly said, “From what I’m hearing, I know he’ll be alright. I know he’ll be back as soon as he can.”
When asked how he felt about his performance Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners, his answer was “better.” While considering all the spring games, Kelly said, “This is definitely the best I’ve felt so far.” He continued, “As far as all four pitches go, that was probably the best I’ve executed them. That was the best they’ve felt coming out of my hand. I liked the action on all of them. The changeups got some swing-and-misses. I (also) got some weak contact on the changeup.”
His cutter has been the pitch that has been the most challenging for him. The results Kelly got out of it Tuesday night encouraged him. “I was happy with the action and the missed barrels I got on it tonight.”
Lovullo “thought (Kelly) was good” Tuesday night. “He’s very consistent with landing breaking balls” but also was “a little off with a couple of pitches in key moments.” These pitches “missed off the end of the zone” a little bit. Overall, “he only gave up one run, which is a really nice outing for him.”
About a dozen players and coaches volunteered Tuesday with COVID vaccination distribution. They’re doing this so they can get their COVID shots as soon as the shots are available to them. Players are doing this by their own choice, since there is no mandate from the league. The team supported them, and Lovullo encouraged it. “Any time you can use our platform to create a very positive message, our organization does a fantastic job of that. Our players are a special group. They would encourage the next teammate or someone they know to go out and get vaccinated.” He feels that some fans waiting in line will recognize some of the players. “I’m sure it will create some smiles.” Seeing the players also will “give people the right message about how important it is to get vaccinated.”
Embed from Getty Images