Diamondbacks sign Slade Cecconi after start against Braves

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks will optionally use starting pitcher Slade Cecconi after a mixed performance on Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves, according to Arizona Sports John Gambadoro.

The team has not announced the decision or any corresponding squad changes.

Cecconi pitched four innings, allowing three earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts in a 7-5 victory over Atlanta. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said the club considered using an opener but decided to let Cecconi start. The plan was to have Cecconi face Atlanta's lineup twice, and he faced exactly 18 batters.

“If it had been going really well and we had a big lead, I probably would have extended it,” Lovullo said. “But as it was, I thought I would pass him right away. I make some preconceived decisions, but I've learned over the last eight years not to be so rigid in those decisions. But for me, it was a very clear decision that it was time to move to the bullpen.”

The Diamondbacks have four games left until the All-Star break, so the decision to put Cecconi on the field will likely add additional depth to the bullpen for the series finale against the Braves and a weekend game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Arizona can reset its rotation after the break and give ace Zac Gallen normal rest time should that be the decision.

The break also gives experienced Jordan Montgomery more time to work his way back from the injured list (knee inflammation), as he made his first bullpen appearance on Tuesday.

Arizona's active starters are Brandon Pfaadt, Ryne Nelson, Yilber Diaz and Gallen, while Humberto Castellanos is a primary option.

Cecconi has a 6.14 ERA in 66 innings pitched this season. Opponents have an OPS of .378 against him in the first round, but that number has skyrocketed to 1.240 in the second round (through Wednesday).

He has a 4.80 FIP, a 4.12 xERA and is keeping walks low, so there are some positive signs on the peripherals. But he's struggled to get deep into the game, which is putting a strain on the bullpen. He's recorded at least 15 outs (5.0 innings) once in his last eight starts.

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