Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale announced today that right-hander Josh Collmenter will be the teams Opening Day starter when the Dbacks take on the Giants at Chase Field on April 6th.
The Diamondbacks announced the news on the team’s official twitter account:
This is probably the most obvious news that Diamondbacks fans are going to hear all spring.
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Collmenter isn’t a true ace, but he and Jeremy Hellickson are the only sure things in the Dbacks rotation right now, and Collmenter proved last season that he deserves to be on the mound for the first game of the season.
Collmenter looked really good in his first spring start which probably helped Hale make the decision.
Last season Collmenter posted a 3.46 era while pitching the most innings (179.1) of his career. He recorded a 108 ERA+, and a 3.87 FIP.
The “Tomahawk” has bounced around from the starter and relief roles during his career.
He was used mostly as a starter in 2012, and hitters couldn’t time his deceptive over the top delivery. In 28 starts he put up a 3.69 era in just over 90 innings pitched.
In 2013, his role changed completely, and he was used mostly as a long reliever. He finished with a 3.13 ERA, and a 3.47 across 92 innings.
He was the most effective reliever in the Arizona pen, and many people believed he should have just stayed in that role.
But thanks to injuries and inconsistency in the rotation last season, Collmenter got his chance to be a starter again, and he made the most of it becoming the ace of the staff while pitching the most innings of his career.
It was remarkable because he hadn’t pitched that many innings the previous two seasons, but it didn’t take him long to adjust.
His story is amazing, and now he will get the ball on Opening Night. Collmenter talked with Dbacks.com about the honor:
“It’s an incredible honor just to be the guy to take the ball for the first day and kind of hopefully set the tone for the season,” Collmenter said.
“To get us off to a good start and just everything that goes into Opening Day — the pageantry and the spectacle it is, to be the one to toe the rubber the first time is pretty special, especially with my career just bouncing back and forth from starting to the pen.”
Hale cited experience as a big factor in making the decision when talking with Dbacks.com
“He’s the veteran guy,” Hale said. “First day is as important as the 162nd, right? We believe in all our guys, but he’s got the most experience at this point here in Arizona. He’s a good leader and he deserved it.”
Hale couldn’t be more right. Collmenter has earned this opportunity, and it couldn’t happen to a greater guy.