The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a rough go on the mound to start the 2021 season. The pitching staff’s collective 4.63 ERA is sixth worst in baseball. Things could get even worse with Wednesday’s news that star pitcher Zac Gallen was moved to the IL with a UCL strain in his pitching elbow.
The move to the IL came as a surprise, considering Gallen was slated to start against his former team, the Miami Marlins, Wednesday night. Gallen started the season on the injured list with a hairline fracture in his forearm. He had since returned and pitched well, amassing a 3.04 ERA with 32 strikeouts across 26 and two thirds innings.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said he expects Gallen to be shut down for a few weeks prior to being re-evaluated.
UCL injuries can often lead to Tommy John surgery, a worst case scenario for pitchers. Gallen and the Diamondbacks will now hold their breath and hope for the best.
Gallen himself described the injury as a “minor sprain.” The ace went on to express optimism that surgery will not be needed. Regardless, it will take time and inactivity before a more definitive decision can be reached. For now, Gallen will rest and see how his healing progresses
In addition to moving Gallen, Arizona also sent first baseman Christian Walker back to the IL with a sore right oblique. The team has already encountered a slew of injuries in the short season. Gallen and Walker join Ketel Marte, Tim Locastro, Kole Calhoun, Joakim Soria, Nick Ahmed and Tyler Clippard as Diamondbacks players who have made a 2021 trip to the IL.
At 17-19, Arizona will need a significant shift in fortune to get ahead in one of the most top-heavy divisions in baseball. If the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are to be unseated, a short absence from Zac Gallen seems imperative.
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