Arizona Diamondbacks: Waiting on second opinion for Miller

Shelby Miller will have surgery on his right elbow. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Shelby Miller will have surgery on his right elbow. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Arizona Diamondbacks could receive a definitive word on pitcher Shelby Miller’s condition by Wednesday.

Do not disturb a good thing when presented. That seems to be the mentality of manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In what is evolving as a domino effect, the injury sustained by starting right-hander Shelby Miller has forced Lovullo and other decision-makers to creating Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and who knows how many more plans. After Miller went down in the fifth inning of last Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chase Field, the juggling act began.

The first inclination was anointing Archie Bradley, who entered Tuesday’s home game with the San Diego Padres with a 0.79 ERA in five appearances, as Miller’s replacement in the rotation. If Lovullo follows the current rotation, Bradley would fill in for Miller in the series opener against the Colorado Rockies at home on Friday night.

Instead, Lovullo and others made the decision to keep Bradley, for now, in the bullpen and dip into the minors for Miller’s replacement. When that decision was made, the domino effect continued.

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Held out of his scheduled start Monday night in Reno, Zack Godley will be recalled from Triple-A Reno and start Wednesday’s game against San Diego, Lovullo told Venom Strikes. That means Taijuan Walker is pushed back one day to start Thursday against the Padres and lefty Robbie Ray with open the Rockies series.

For now, the Diamondbacks are waiting for a second opinion on Miller. At this point, the organization is not revealing what the first opinion might be and that was made internally by the medical staff. Usually, a second opinion is not a good sign because the second thought may concur with the original diagnosis or suggest the condition could be complicated.

In Miller’s case, he left Sunday’s game with tightness in his right forearm. The consequence could be additional issues throughout his throwing arm and shoulder or the onset of tendinosis. Before Tuesday’s game with San Diego, Lovullo was tight-tip about Miller’s condition and told Venom Strikes the club is currently in a holding pattern.

"At this point in the diagnosis, we remain optimistic. We will take in all the information and then go through a through evaluation. I’ll probably have more to say (Wednesday)."

Through his opening four starts of the season, Miller appeared the confront the demons of last season. That’s when the Houston, Tex. native was regarded a significant under-achiever. Finishing with a 3-12 mark, and a 6.15 ERA for 20 starts, Miller vowed to totally erase the past.

Arriving in camp with faith restored and zeal renewed, Miller showed a lightning fast ball and sometimes hit the radar gun in the upper 90s. Miller broke out of the gate with a 2-1 mark and an ERA (4.09) of two runs lower per game  than last season. Then, the injury which has forced the Diamondbacks into a period of what Lovullo called on Tuesday, “instability.”

As the 2017 season commenced, Miller emerged an important part of one of the most improved teams in the majors. All of which prompted Lovullo to explain to Venom Strikes Miller’s value.

"Shelby is deserving of the good things which have come his way. I don’t know what happened there last year and I don’t care. He has spoken to us and (Miller) is a valuable piece of this puzzle."

In moving in Godley as Miller’s replacement, Lovullo told Venom Strikes there was little thought to turn to Braden Shipley or Anthony Banda, noting, “neither was throwing as well as Godley.”

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At this point, Godley would be the 26th player on the Arizona roster and it’s likely that reliever Silvino Bracho, who was recalled to take Miller’s roster spot, will be returned to Triple-A Reno. For now, Lovullo told Venom Strikes, “Bracho is in the bullpen for (Tuesday night’s) game.”