Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen goes on 15-day IL with strained right hamstring

NEW YORK (AP) — Already stuck in a slump, the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to be without their top pitcher for a while.

Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen was placed on the 15-day injured list Friday because of a strained right hamstring, and the defending National League champions recalled right-hander Slade Cecconi from Triple-A Reno.

Cecconi is scheduled to start Saturday against the New York Mets.

Gallen was removed six pitches into Thursday night's outing at Citi Field in the opener of a four-game series. He went back to Arizona on Friday to undergo an MRI and get evaluated by team doctors.

“He’s going to miss some time and we’re going to let him heal up, for sure,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after his team's 10-9 loss to the Mets.

Lovullo said he thought it was a Grade 1 strain, the least severe.

“Very encouraging,” the manager said.

Gallen missed about two weeks in July 2021 with a Grade 1 strain to his right hamstring.

“So you can probably overlap that timeline,” Lovullo said.

Gallen is 5-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 11 starts. The 28-year-old right-hander finished in the top five of NL Cy Young Award voting each of the past two years, including third last season when he went 17-9 with a 3.47 ERA in 210 innings and made his first All-Star team.

His injury is the latest blow to a Diamondbacks team that's lost five straight to fall a season-worst seven games under .500. Arizona (25-32) already was missing starters Merrill Kelly, sidelined since April 15 by a strained right shoulder, and Eduardo Rodriguez, who hasn’t pitched this season because of a strained left shoulder after signing an $80 million, four-year contract as a free agent.

“It hurts, there’s no doubt about it," Lovullo said before Friday night's game. “I hated having to pull him off the field. I think everybody felt the same way. But nobody can feel sorry for themselves.”

Cecconi, 24, was 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in five starts and one relief appearance for the Diamondbacks earlier this season. He is 1-5 with a 5.31 ERA in 13 major league games (nine starts) — all with Arizona over the past two years.

Rodriguez is throwing at 75 feet, Lovullo said, and Kelly is scheduled to begin a throwing program next week.

All-Star shortstop Geraldo Perdomo (right meniscus tear) was set to play a minor league rehab game Friday in the Arizona Complex League, getting three at-bats as the designated hitter.

Right-handed reliever Miguel Castro (right shoulder inflammation) was scheduled to throw from 100 feet.