D-backs recall A.J. Schugel, place Gerald Laird on DL
PHOENIX — A stretch of 10 games in 10 days combined with the placement of catcher Gerald Laird (back) on the 15-day disabled list assignment led the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday to recall reliever A.J. Schugel from Triple-A Reno.
The right-hander gives the D-backs their 13th pitcher to help a bullpen that, while fresh now, could use another arm for the remaining week of eight straight games, beginning Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Making his debut, Schugel appeared in relief of starting pitcher Josh Collmenter in a 7-4 loss to the Dodgers. He went three innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs and a home run to Joc Peterson in his first inning as a major leaguer.
"It’s tough to come in the first game in the major leagues," manager Chip Hale said. "That first inning, he struggled with his location and his ability to throw his breaking ball and changeup for strikes. Once he was able to do that, yeah, I liked what I saw. It’s just, you never know what you’re going to get in that first go-round."
Schugel was told of his re-assignment by the Reno coaches after they played in Albuquerque late Saturday.
"I didn’t know if they were kidding or not," Schugel said.
Schugel took an 8 a.m. flight to Phoenix, and as expected, it’s been a whirlwind as he readies for a potential debut.
"(Got) a lot of text messages and not a lot of sleep," Schugel said. "It’s been pretty crazy but obviously very exciting."
The 25-year-old led the D-backs minor league pitchers with a 3.47 ERA last season while with Double-A Mobile and had not yet pitched for Reno. Expected to start on Monday, he will now come out of the D-backs’ bullpen, giving Arizona another stretched-out option to go with Andrew Chafin, Randall Delgado and Daniel Hudson.
"He’s got some power stuff," manager Chip Hale said. "We shortened him up to one inning, two innings, he threw hard. He’s got good sink, which we like here, and he’s got a good breaking ball."
The move limits what the D-backs can do offensively. Hale liked bringing Jordan Pacheco in as an early pinch-hitter, but that will be harder to do as Pacheco, who can play the infield, steps in for Laird as the backup catcher behind starter Tuffy Gosewisch. Once the D-backs reach next week, Monday and Thursday days off will allow them to give the bullpen more rest, and Hale said it’s likely the team looks to bring in a position player rather than hold 13 pitchers.
Laird, meanwhile, is undergoing tests to determine what actions the team will take.
The D-backs supposedly squashed a beef with with Dodgers that stemmed from a back-and-forth of plunking in a March 23 spring game. A week later, managers Hale and Los Angeles’ Don Mattingly made up.
But on Saturday, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner took A.J. Pollock’s cleat to his hand, causing a gash that led to Turner leaving the game. Neither the D-backs nor the Dodgers believe that will rile up any more hard feelings.
Hale had an interesting perspective on the play.
"With replay now, guys have to really stick those tags in there a little harder," Hale said. "The old days we just kind of sweep, the ball beat them, the umpire will call them out. Now with replay, you don’t tag them, you don’t go to replay they will call them safe. It puts your hand a little more into harms way. We feel bad."