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Diamondbacks give pitchers more time to recover

Patrick Corbin is not expected back until next May or June.
Patrick Corbin is not expected back until next May or June.
Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

With five pitchers currently out as a result of Tommy John surgery and another in the minors, the Diamondbacks have had their share of maladies.

Of the six, right-hander Daniel Hudson, at the major league level and left-hander Andrew Chafin at the minor league level have appeared in recent games. Hudson, who has not pitched in a major league game since June 26, 2012, is scheduled now to join the Diamondbacks this Monday in San Diego. Chafin, who started a game Cleveland earlier this month, is expected to a September call-up early next week.

According to manager Kirk Gibson, Hudson could get in game Tuesday or Wednesday against the Padres but that would depend on the game situation. Going forward, Hudson is slated to appear in anywhere from three to six appearances in September and will pitch only one inning each time out. The forecast is for Hudson to throw no more than 25 or pitches and continue his rehabilitation in the off-season.

If he progresses at a positive rate, Hudson could be in the mix for a rotation spot for 2015.

Such is not the timetable for starters left-hander Patrick Corbin and right-hander Bronson Arroyo, both underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year. As well, relievers right-hander David Hernandez and left-hander Matt Reynolds continue to endure the monotony of spending more than one calendar year away from the baseball diamond.

“In all cases, we’ll be conservative with the approach,” Gibson told reporters before Saturday’s game with the Rockies in Chase Field. “There is a tendency to rush guys back and we’re not doing that.”

It’s possible, however, the timetable could be accelerated for Hernandez and Reynolds. As relievers, their period in a game is short but frequency of appearances is greater than starters. Still, the rehab process for a player is tedious at best and worthy of attention for the organization.

“As far as Reynolds is concerned, he’s started to throw but not sure if he will get in a game during September,” Gibson added. “It’s been nearly a year for him, and again with all of these guys, we don’t want to rush anyone.”

Reynolds underwent the Tommy John procedure last September 24 but landed on the disabled list June 10 with a strained left elbow. When he went down, Reynolds was the Diamondbacks most effective reliever.

In 30 appearances last season, Reynolds sported a 1.98 ERA, two saves and tied a team record with Joe Paterson with 19 scoreless outings to start a season.

For his part, Corbin, who underwent the procedure in early April of this year, is not due back until next May or June, according to Gibson. While the usual recovery time is around one calendar year, the Diamondbacks are creating a new rehab timetable.

With the explosion of the Tommy John procedures around baseball, the effort is to prolong a player’s career and still bring value to the organization. From the Diamondbacks perspective, the medical staff wants to wait longer and extend treatment.

REVIVED

Over the second half of the season, closer Addison Reed clearly picked himself off the mat.

While walks and home runs characterized his early appearances in Sedona Red, Reed has recovered to be both dependable and consistent.

Coming into Saturday’s game with the Rockies, Reed has converted 11 straight save opportunities, and that represents the longest in his career. In 54 appearances thus far in 2014, Reed has 31 saves and recorded 40 of 48 save opportunities last season with the White Sox.

“He’s staying with it and wants the ball,” said Gibson. “Reed is one guy who never backs away. He has better command now and a little more deception. His breaking has improved and that sets up his fastball.”

With his save in Friday’s 5-2 victory over Colorado, Reed recorded his 100th career save and became the sixth youngest pitcher, at 25-years-old, to reach that number since the stat was established in 1969. “He’s reaching some pretty elite company,” was Gibson’s response to Reed reaching 100.

UNTIL THE END

With a month to go in the season, Gibson said he has no immediate plans to limit catcher Miguel Montero’s playing time.

Coming into Saturday’s game with Colorado, Montero has appeared in 115 games, 112 behind the plate, and is on target for more than 140 games. Montero has caught more than 1,000 in each of the past three seasons and is on the mark to stretch that to four straight. Currently, Montero ranks second among catchers in RBIs, second in innings played and second in games behind the plate.

“I’ll continue to use (reserve Tuffy) Gosewisch and give Montero a rest here and there,” Gibson said. “Also, we’re talking about bring up a third catcher and have (Jordan Pacheco) as a catcher. But, Montero will get the same amount of time going forward as he did over the season.”