The Diamondbacks will place struggling righty Shelby Miller on the 15-day DL with a “right finger sprain,” as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported (via Twitter). Arizona also added fellow staff member Rubby De La Rosa to the DL with elbow inflammation, adding to the pitching concerns.
Miller, 25, was acquired from the Braves over the winter with hopes that he’d join Zack Greinke to form an imposing 1-2 punch atop the Snakes’ staff. Instead, he has fallen apart since arriving in Arizona. In 45 2/3 innings over ten starts, Miller has surrendered 7.09 earned runs per nine while recording an untenable 30:29 K/BB ratio. He’s been torched with the long ball while exhibiting a 1.5 mph drop in velocity as against the average fastball he threw over a successful 2015 season.
It appears that Miller’s DL stint will arise as a result of a finger issues he’s been battling of late after scraping his hand on the mound after releasing pitches. But it’s hard to ignore the role that his ugly start has played in the decision, and that could impact his progress back toward the majors.
Arizona desperately needs to get Miller on track. The club entered the day seven games under .500 after a winter in which it dropped over $200MM on Greinke and gave up three significant assets — center fielder Ender Inciarte, pitching prospect Aaron Blair, and top overall 2015 draft pick Dansby Swanson — for the rights to Miller.
The still-youthful righty is owed $4.35MM this year and has two more seasons of arb control remaining. But the Diamondbacks will need him to pitch like the front-of-the-line arm they thought they were getting for that trade to look like anything but a bust. Of course, that may have been asking too much of Miller even at the time the deal was struck.
A timetable on Miller is wholly unclear at present. Conceivably, he could rest up and miss the minimum fifteen-day stretch. It could be, though, that the organization will spend some time looking for a fix, possibly sending Miller out on a rehab assignment to get some work in before he returns.
With Miller officially out of the rotation for the time being, the D-Backs will be even more stretched. The club surely hoped its rotation would be a strength, but Greinke and Patrick Corbin have also fallen shy of expectations — albeit nowhere near to the same extent as Miller — while De La Rosa and Robby Ray have been solid but largely unspectacular.
De La Rosa tells Jack Magruder of Fanragsports.com (via Twitter) that he expects to miss a month. There does not appear to be any concern that he’ll need surgery, which is certainly good news. But the injury looks to be significant, and it’s always troubling to see a young pitcher dealing with elbow troubles.
The organization announced several other roster moves, too. Among them, Josh Collmenter was activated from his DL stint. Also coming up is young slugger Peter O’Brien, as are righties Dominic Leone and Silvino Bracho. The club will need to promote new rotation options early next week, with former top prospect Archie Bradley set to get another shot at the majors.
Bradley has scuffled in two outings earlier this year, but has been better at the Triple-A level. O’Brien, who has shifted from catcher to outfielder, made a brief major league debut last year. He’s put up a stellar .306/.330/.601 batting line in 182 plate appearances at Triple-A.