Diamondbacks Notes: Rotation, Lamb

At 32-32 and just 2 1/2 games out of wild-card position in the National League, the Diamondbacks are approaching the July 31 trade deadline with a buyers’ mindset, according to general manager Mike Hazen (via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic).

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Hazen suggested Arizona’s main priority is upgrading its starting staff, saying, “We’re looking at any way we can to continue to improve and help both our depth and our rotation in general.”

Injuries to Luke Weaver and Taijuan Walker, not to mention Zack Godley’s demotion to the bullpen, have left Arizona’s rotation without any clear answers after Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Merrill Kelly. The club’s on the lookout for help as a result, and it tried to swing a deal with the Mariners for right-hander Mike Leake earlier this week. Now, though, those talks “appear to have gone dormant,” Piecoro writes.

Assuming a trade for Leake or another starter doesn’t come together imminently, the D-backs seem inclined to continue with Jon Duplantier and Taylor Clarke at the back of their rotation. Duplantier, MLB.com’s 62nd-ranked prospect, has turned in 10 innings of nine-hit, five-earned run ball and notched 11 strikeouts against three walks in two starts since the Diamondbacks recalled him from Triple-A Reno. Clarke hasn’t been that successful as a starter this year, having compiled a 5.12 ERA/4.55 FIP with 6.05 K/9 against 3.26 BB/9 in 19 1/3 frames.

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On the position player side, Arizona has been without corner infielder Jake Lamb for almost the entire season. The 28-year-old went to the injured list with a quad strain April 5, but he’ll begin a rehab assignment Saturday at the Triple-A level, Piecoro reports. A third baseman from 2014-17, Lamb entered this season as the D-backs’ primary first baseman in the wake of Paul Goldschmidt’s exit via trade. The lefty-swinging Lamb’s injury opened the door for the righty-hitting Christian Walker, who excelled in April but has come back to Earth since. Those two seem likely to form a platoon upon Lamb’s return.

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