D-backs send struggling Paterson to minors

PHOENIX — In a minor bullpen shakeup Tuesday, the Diamondbacks recalled Mike Zagurski and Joe Martinez from Triple-A Reno.

In corresponding moves, the team optioned Joe Paterson to Reno and designated Jonathan Albaladejo for assignment. The right-hander Albaladejo, recalled Saturday when starter Daniel Hudson went on the disabled list, made his lone appearance Monday night, tossing a scoreless inning against the Phillies.

After a strong rookie season last year, the left-handed specialist Paterson has scuffled so far this season. His struggles came to a head Monday night when he allowed five runs on five hits, including two home runs, in the ninth inning of the D-backs’ 9-5 win. In 2 2/3 innings of relief over six appearances this year, Paterson has given up 11 earned runs and three walks while posting a 37.13 ERA.

“Joe Paterson has struggled, he’s not throwing the ball well,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “We need to try to get him back on track, and we felt the best place to do that was sending him to Triple-A and have him work to try to get some of his confidence back. He’ll be on more of a regular schedule.”

In 62 appearances last year, Paterson totaled 34 innings while allowing just one home run and notching a 2.91 ERA. In 22 of those appearances, Paterson faced just one hitter. He held left-handed hitters to a .205 batting average. Gibson said he’s seeing a different arm angle from Paterson and less life on his pitches.

To fill the lefty specialist void, the D-backs brought in Zagurski, who impressed the team enough this spring to stay in big league camp right up until Opening Day. In 10 1/3 Cactus League innings, he allowed just three runs.

“He threw the ball good in spring for us, he’s been throwing the ball good in Triple-A,” Gibson said. “We felt he was the next best guy to bring up, and he deserves an opportunity. He didn’t throw last night so he’s fresh.”

Zagurski had made six relief appearances in Reno this year, posting a 2.00 ERA over nine innings. He held left-handed hitters to a .100 batting average and allowed just three total hits, one a two-run homer.

Martinez, who had been starting in Reno, gives the D-backs needed length in the bullpen for Tuesday’s game. The bullpen’s long man, Wade Miley, started Monday in place of Hudson.

Gibson said there’s been no decision made yet about who will start in that spot next time around. He also said there are no plans yet to skip the spot with Thursday’s off day, instead getting the starters an extra day of rest.

“It just depends on what happens this week,” Gibson said. “We know (Miley) is not going to be pitching for the next three days for sure. There’s a lot of things we’re kicking around.”

Martinez, 29, has made three starts for Reno this season, going 0-1 with a 4.42 ERA. He provides insurance against taxing the bullpen in the event Tuesday starter Josh Collmenter exits early.

“Anytime you can be seen at this level and pitch at this level, it’s a chance to make an impression,” Martinez said. “It doesn’t really matter how you get here. If you perform and you do well, you’re helping the team win.”

Zagurski and Martinez got word of their promotions together Monday night from Reno manager Brett Butler. Martinez hasn’t pitched in the majors since Sept. 30, 2010. Zagurski last threw in the big leagues June 4 of last season. Oddly enough, Zagurski makes his return to the majors against his former team, the Phillies, for whom he has made 37 career appearances.

“Baseball’s a weird game I guess,” Zagruski said, laughing. “It’s great. I’ve got a lot of friends on that team. … It’s nice to get back and play against those guys, but they’re just like anybody else.”