D-Train skipped in D-backs' rotation

D-Train skipped in D-backs' rotation

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager A.J. Hinch confirmed on Sunday his rotation for the upcoming Interleague series with the Red Sox, which starts Tuesday in Boston.

And Dontrelle Willis isn't in it.

Given Monday's off-day, Hinch said Ian Kennedy, Rodrigo Lopez and Dan Haren would stay on schedule.

"Keeping them on their normal rest is important," the skipper said.

The manager added that he decided to skip Willis, at least in part, because the left-hander split the fingernail on his left middle finger in his past start, a four-inning outing Thursday in Arizona's 11-7 loss. As a result, Willis will throw off to the side prior to his next start, which would come on either Friday or Saturday in Detroit. Hinch said Willis and Edwin Jackson, both former members of the Tigers, would pitch the first two games of that series.

Willis said Sunday that his broken nail was improving -- he applied acrylic to strengthen it -- and hoped it would be fully healed by the time he becomes, at least temporarily, a relief pitcher. Hinch said Willis would be available out of the D-backs' bullpen during their set at Fenway Park.

Given that Willis would be the bullpen's lone southpaw, Hinch didn't rule out using him in any situation, though he's most likely to pitch in long relief.

"Anything to help the bullpen out, I'm all for it," Willis said. "I had to do it a couple of times in Detroit, so I just want to get there and compete."

As for facing his old teammates -- Willis spent parts of three seasons, 2008-10, in Detroit -- he downplayed his advanced scouting report.

"You could know everything, but you still have to execute," Willis said. "They know me, too."