The Diamondbacks suffered a gut punch late in spring training when star pitcher Zac Gallen suffered a hairline fracture in his right forearm while taking batting practice.
This type of injury is so rare among baseball players that the team didn’t even have that steady of a timeline for his return.
Apparently, it was much quicker than anyone anticipated as Gallen will make his season debut on Tuesday against the A’s, about three weeks after the diagnosis of the fracture.
According to manager Torey Lovullo, Gallen progressed quickly, throwing multiple simulated games over past weeks and was able to throw all of his pitches. The pitcher’s first inkling of trouble in the spring was when he felt discomfort throwing his curveball.
“It’s obvious what he means to this team and this rotation,” Lovullo said. “He is coming an unbelievable 2020 where he continued to grow and learn and took that on into the offseason.”
Gallen is coming off an impressive 2020 season where he started 12 games, threw 72 innings, posting a 2.75 ERA and striking out 82 batters. Despite the team’s struggles in the shortened season, Gallen finished 10th in Cy Young voting.
The Diamondbacks traded for the pitcher at the trade deadline in 2019, sending top prospect Jazz Chisholm to the Miami Marlins. Gallen has quickly cemented himself in the top of the rotation in the two quick years he’s been with the club.
His addition, along with other key players coming of the injured list, can help the team navigate a tough National League West division.
“We all know what he means to this ball club,” Lovullo said. “It’s a welcome addition, as was Nick Ahmed, as was Kole Calhoun. We’re a good baseball team that will get better with the return of all these injured players.”