Hirano, 35, landed on the injured list in mid-August while dealing with elbow inflammation. It turned out to be a three-week stint on the IL for the second-year big leaguer, who pitched a scoreless inning during a rehab appearance with the D-Backs’ High-A affiliate.
After a stellar 2018 season, Hirano has taken a step back this year, as his ERA has jumped to 4.89. However, there are still some positive indicators to suggest that he isn’t far off his 2018 performance: with an increased strikeout rate, Hirano’s FIP sits at 3.89, not far off the 3.69 mark he posted a year ago.
With his activation, Hirano will join a surging Arizona club that has won 11 of its last 12 games and finds itself in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. It remains to be seen just how Hirano, who hasn’t pitched in a big-league game in more than three weeks, will fit into the bullpen mix. However, it seems that manager Torey Lovullo will want to reinstall Hirano, who has been one of the team’s top late-inning options, into high-leverage spots shortly.