Lopez named D-backs' fourth starter
Righty has 2.35 ERA in five spring games
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The roster became a little clearer for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
Rodrigo Lopez was named the club's fourth starter while fellow starters Billy Buckner and Kevin Mulvey were optioned to Triple-A Reno.
In five games (four starts, not including a Minor League game) Lopez had a 2.35 ERA. Buckner, who entered camp as the frontrunner for the spot, had a 10.13 in six games (five starts). Mulvey saw action in four Major League games and one Minor League one and had a 5.79 ERA.
"He outpitched them," A.J. Hinch said of Lopez. "He had a good spring and he has a long track record of controlling damage and being good. He's been battle tested and he outpitched them this spring. Buckner we have history with and we expect him to be back at some point. Mulvey we traded for for a reason and we expect him to be back at some point."
Also optioned to Triple-A were first baseman Brandon Allen and outfielder Cole Gillespie, while catcher Sean Coughlin was reassigned.
What that means is that the rotation will go Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Lopez until April 17 when the club will need to add a fifth starter.
As for the bullpen, Hinch said that Chad Qualls, Juan Gutierrez, Bob Howry, Aaron Heilman, to a lesser extent Blaine Boyer would make the club.
That leaves Zach Kroenke, Jordan Norberto, Leo Rosales, Esmerling Vasquez and Clay Zavada battling for the final three spots in the 'pen with Rosales being out of Minor League options.
There appears to be two bench spots open with Ryan Roberts, Rusty Ryal and Tony Abreu still left in the running.
It had been widely assumed heading into camp that Roberts had a spot locked up, but he has struggled at the plate this spring. Hinch was vague in terms of how that may have impacted his chances of making the team.
"Coming into camp, Roberts is coming off a good season, but guys are pushing him for that spot," Hinch said. "It's important to play well. Spring Training evaluations are worth only so much. He did a great job for us last year."
Outfielder Drew Macias, first baseman Jeff Bailey and pitcher T.J. Beam were told Tuesday that they would not make the Opening Day roster, but would stay with the club for the rest of spring before heading over to Minor League camp.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.