D-backs Continue to Revamp Bullpen

The Arizona Diamondbacks have recently added Cesar Valdez and Carlos Rosa to their struggling bullpen. Now veteran Saul Rivera can add his arm to the Arizona arsenal while struggling right-handers Blaine Boyer and Bob Howry find themselves out of work.

Right-handed pitcher Saul Rivera was acquired from Cleveland's Class AAA Columbus affiliate in a cash deal, and he was added to Arizona's major league roster Monday. Veteran Bob Howry was released, and Blaine Boyer was designated for assignment to facilitate Tuesday starter Billy Buckner on the 25-man roster. The Diamondbacks bullpen enter play Tuesday with a major league-high 7.69 ERA and nine failed save conversions.

"Changes had to be made," manager A.J. Hinch said succinctly.

Rivera, 32, went 2-0 with four saves and an 0.53 in 15 appearances for Columbus this season after being signed to a minor league contract last winter. He had gone 13-15 with four saves and a 4.05 ERA in 245 appearances with the Nationals from 2006-09, making 85 appearances in 2007 and 76 in 2008. He spent time at both the the major and the minor league levels in 2009, making 30 appearances with the Washington Nationals.

Bob Howry, signed as a free agent in the offseason to add a veteran arm to the bullpen, never seemed to find his stride in his six weeks with the D-backs before being released Monday. Howry, 36, went 1-0 with a 10.67 ERA in 14 appearances, giving up six home runs in 14 1/3 innings.  Howry will earn $2.25 million this season and has a $3 million option with a $250,000 buyout for 2011. The D-backs will be liable for all but the major league minimum $400,000 if Howry signs with another team.

"We can't put this all on Bob Howry," Hinch told The Sports XChange. "That was a tough conversation."

The 28-year-old Blaine Boyer was 1-2 with a 7.82 ERA and 11 walks in 12.1 innings before being designated for assignment today.  Boyer had been out of options, meaning he is off the 40-man roster and will need to clear waivers before the D-backs are able to assign him to Triple-A. 

This means that the D-backs currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster with Brandon Webb and Leo Rosales on the 60-day disabled list.  If Arizona would like to add a pitcher to the 40-man roster before Webb and Rosales return to action, they do have some good options at Triple-A Reno. 

Jason Urquidez has fanned 21 batters in 21 innings with the Aces, winning two games and saving a pair along the way to a 2.14 ERA.  Josh Ellis, a sidearmer who impressed in spring training, has fanned 17 batters in 19 innings en route to a 4.26 ERA.  Matt Torra is a starter, but could bump Buckner to the bullpen if Buckner struggles in the starter's role.  Torra has a 2.83 ERA in six starts with the Aces and a 2.53 ERA overall.

Those three are all pitch right-handed, however.  With all of the recent shakeups, the D-backs still do not feature a left-hander in their bullpen.  Jordan Norberto, Leyson Septimo, Clay Zavada, and Zach Kroenke are the southpaws on the 40-man roster but not currently with the big league club.  Of those four, only Norberto is pitching well right now, as he has gone 2-0 with a save, 11 strikeouts, and five walks in nine innings since being demoted to Triple-A Reno last month.

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