The Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting rotation has been hit with a serious injury. Right-hander Zac Gallen, who is projected to be the team’s No. 2 starter behind Madison Bumgarner, was scratched from Monday’s Spring Training contest due to right lateral forearm soreness.
This appears to be a lingering injury as Gallen has been receiving treatment for the past 10 days, manager Torey Lovullo told the media.
#Dbacks Zac Gallen scratched with right lateral forearm soreness. Still being evaluated. He's been getting treatment for 10 days.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) March 22, 2021
Arizona’s skipper added that the initial injury occurred while Gallen was swinging a bat rather than pitching, adding further fuel to debates suggesting that MLB would be better off with a universal designated hitter.
#Dbacks manager Torey Lovullo said that Zac Gallen felt the discomfort when swinging a bat not when throwing.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) March 22, 2021
Over 27 career starts, the former third-round pick out of UNC owns a 6-8 record with a 2.78 ERA. In 2020 alone, he made 12 starts (72 innings), pitching to a 2.75 ERA. He allowed 22 earned runs on 55 hits, including nine home runs. He walked 25 batters and struck out 82.
Prior to his injury, the latest ZiPS projections expected him to go 12-8 this season with a 3.74 ERA and 3.0 fWAR over 163.7 innings. Advanced projections saw him finishing with 10.61 K/9, 2.97 BB/9, 1.21 WHIP, and 3.90 FIP.
While full details on the injury remain unknown, it is safe to assume Arizona will be overly cautious with its young hurler. The good news is that Gallen only feels pain when swinging and throwing the curveball, meaning his velocity and ability to throw the rest of his repertoire remain bearable. Still, every forearm injury carries the potential for bad news. With this in mind, Gallen could open the year on the injured list—no matter the severity.