Arm problems have kept Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver out of action for almost a month, but the right-hander’s seemingly moving toward a return. A follow-up MRI on Weaver “showed improvement,” Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets. It’s still unclear when he’ll begin a throwing program, per Gilbert, though manager Torey Lovullo called Weaver’s progress “a very good sign.”
An injury to Weaver’s right ulnar collateral ligament and flexor pronator could have sent him to the operating table at the end of May, but a group of doctors agreed he could try to rehab without surgery. So far, so good for Weaver and the Diamondbacks, who can ill afford to see the 25-year-old go under the knife. The club’s starting staff has already been without the injured Taijuan Walker, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2018 and has more recently battled shoulder problems. Plus, in addition to Weaver and Walker, the team put fellow promising righty Jon Duplantier on the injured list June 12 with shoulder inflammation.
The absences of Weaver, Walker and Duplantier have left sizable holes in Arizona’s rotation after Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Merrill Kelly, helping to explain its recent slide down the standings. Having received unappealing results from Zack Godley and Taylor Clarke, the Diamondbacks are an unimpressive 39-40. However, they’re still just two games behind the Cardinals for the NL’s second wild-card spot.
Should the D-backs continue to hang around the playoff picture, a healthy Weaver could serve as an important in-season reinforcement. Acquired from the Cardinals last winter in a package for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Weaver has pitched to an outstanding 3.03 ERA/3.07 FIP with 9.82 K/9 and 2.02 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings this season in his first action in the desert.