D-backs option Skaggs, call up reliever De La Rosa

PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks shuffled their pitching staff Thursday, optioning starter Tyler Skaggs to Single-A Visalia and calling up lefty reliever Eury De La Rosa from Triple-A Reno.

Skaggs had a somewhat disappointing outing against the Dodgers on Wednesday night, allowing three runs and 11 base runners in 4 1/3 innings before leaving with the bases loaded. That came after a dominant start his previous time out in which he threw eight shutout innings against the Rockies. Overall, in five starts with the D-backs, Skaggs went 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA.

Skaggs, who turns 22 on Saturday, had been pitching in Triple-A before his call-up on May 27 but was sent to Visalia due to the timing of the upcoming All-Star breaks for both Reno and Double-A Mobile, which would have led to an extended time off. With Visalia, he will be able to continue on his normal schedule through the Diamondbacks’ time off for the All-Star break.

“It’s just the best place to keep him on turn right now,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We’ll move him after that wherever he might go.”

Barring a trade, Skaggs will likely be back in the majors after the All-Star break. He would be eligible to return for the third game after the break, July 21 in San Francisco. While Skaggs has been a little up an down, Gibson has been pleased with what he has seen so far.

“He’s improving for sure,” Gibson said. “He’s made big strides, I think. You see the kid growing, and I think we can all see his potential.”

The D-backs will still be without Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) and Trevor Cahill (hip/shoulder) at least through the first turn in the rotation.
D-backs general manager Kevin Towers on Thursday said McCarthy could be “very close” to going out on a rehab assignment, perhaps just after the All-Star break. Towers predicted McCarthy could be back by the end of the month, while Cahill would need more time.
 
The addition of De La Rosa, who is in the majors for the first time, bolsters the D-backs bullpen for a four-game series with the Brewers. The bullpen was taxed heavily Wednesday by a 14-inning game against the Dodgers. Gibson said he envisions De La Rosa being a two- or three-inning reliever.

“He’s just kind of a little gamer deluxe,” Gibson said. “He’s not intimidated, just kind of comes right at you. He can throw several pitches, throws strikes, holds runners well.

“We continue to kind of go through the guys that we’ve seen really in spring training, and we may continue to go through more. I’ve said before there’s somebody in our organization that will have an impact that maybe you’re not looking at — they may get the opportunity, and tonight Eury is one of those guys.”

The 23-year-old De La Rosa was 1-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 42 innings over 37 appearances for Reno this season. He had 45 strikeouts and limited left-handed hitters to a .177 mark. In six minor league seasons, De La Rosa is 8-13 with 29 saves and a 2.87 ERA in 185 games, all but six of them relief appearances.

De La Rosa got word Thursday morning that he would be going to the big leagues for the first time.

“If you can imagine getting the news you’ve wanted to hear since you were a baby, it’s almost inexplicable how exciting it is,” De La Rosa said through an interpreter.
 
As for Gibson’s characterization of him as a no-fear type pitcher, De La Rosa said that’s how he’s always approached baseball.

“For me, baseball is basically the same, whether it’s Single-A or the big leagues,” De La Rosa said. “If this is the level you want to play at, if this is the level you want to get to then you can’t have fear because otherwise you’re never going to get here.”