7/14/2013 5:38 P.M. ET
McCarthy nears final stage of recovery
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Sidelined since May 31, Brandon McCarthy is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno next weekend, the final step before rejoining the D-backs' rotation.
On the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation, McCarthy threw 60 to 70 pitches of a simulated game at Chase Field on Sunday, and assuming his arm recovers from the session without any setbacks, he will start at least two games for Reno once the Aces regroup following the All-Star break. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he wanted the right-hander to build up to 90 pitches before the club activated him.
McCarthy is 2-4 this season with a 5.00 ERA. From May 12-24, the 30-year-old allowed just one run over 24 innings, but in his final outing before hitting the DL, he surrendered six runs on nine hits in 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers.
D-backs plan to shuffle rotation after break
PHOENIX -- The D-backs will shuffle their rotation coming out of the All-Star break beginning Friday, when Ian Kennedy will take the mound in San Francisco after last starting Sunday.
After that, it will be Wade Miley, then Randall Delgado finishing off the series against the Giants before the D-backs come home to face the Cubs. While it is certain that All-Star Patrick Corbin will pitch fifth Tuesday, the D-backs are not ready to name a starter for Monday, although Tyler Skaggs is the lead nominee.
"It's possible," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said when asked about Skaggs. "He's a likely candidate, but it's not firm."
Ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the D-backs' farm system and the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com entering the season, Skaggs was optioned to Class A Visalia on Thursday so he could stay on his regular rotation turn. With the Triple-A and Double-A All-Star Games taking place this week, Visalia was the only place the southpaw could pitch.
Skaggs has made five starts this year for the D-backs, compiling a 4.03 ERA over 29 innings while striking out 25 batters.
Even though Corbin has been the ace of the Arizona staff in 2013, Gibson opted to slot him fifth so the 23-year-old, who is in his first full Major League season and has already thrown 130 1/3 innings, could get a bit of rest.
"It kind of skips a start for him," Gibson said. "We're hoping he only pitches one inning in the All-Star game as well."
Asked if Corbin would be on an innings limit at the end of the season, Gibson said, "No, he's full go."
The new rotation order also helps split up the D-backs' left-handed starters better. The club finished the first half of the season with its three southpaws -- Miley, Skaggs and Corbin -- all pitching in consecutive days.
• Jason Kubel hit his first home run since June 11 on Saturday. The outfielder tallied a career-high 30 long balls last season, but he has just five in 63 games this year. The D-backs would like to see his power numbers pick up down the stretch.
"He's got to do that; we need him to do that," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's been working on some things, we've seen it in batting practice and his swings are better in games. If we can get that going, that'll have a significant impact on our season in the second half."
• Although the D-backs' bullpen has recorded consecutive saves in the last three games -- Brad Ziegler twice and David Hernandez once -- Gibson said he would continue to use his relievers in late-game scenarios based on matchups. The manager hopes to have roles defined by the end of the month.
• A day after Giants' right-hander Tim Lincecum tossed a no-hitter using 148 pitches, Gibson was asked Sunday if he would let Patrick Corbin throw that many pitches if he had a no-no going.
"I'd yank him," Gibson said. "If it were Ian Kennedy, I'd maybe let him, but I don't think it would be very smart to let Patrick Corbin throw 148 pitches. You'd be asking for trouble with his career and as well for your team looking long term. It would be hard, but the right thing to do."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.