Shipley will get innings even if he doesn't start

Shipley will get innings even if he doesn't start

PHOENIX -- Braden Shipley may not start a game again this season for the D-backs. But his pitching schedule as a reliever is similar to when he was starting.

The D-backs right-hander was told by the team to be ready to pitch every five days. He threw a bullpen session on Monday and knows he will pitch Wednesday. Only, just like his last outing, it won't start in the first inning, but rather when Rubby De La Rosa is removed from the game.

De La Rosa was activated Friday after missing more than three months with right elbow inflammation. His pitch count is being strictly monitored and he won't throw more than 70 pitches again this season. So there certainly will be innings for Shipley to pitch when De La Rosa is removed after just a few innings.

"I'm kind of open for anything. As long as I'm pitching, helping the team win ballgames, that's all that matters," Shipley said. "I may get another start, but if my role is to come out of the bullpen, I'm going to do that and pitch as long as I can each time out."

On Friday against the Giants, De La Rosa pitched two innings and threw 43 pitches. Shipley entered to start the third, then pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief.

Shipley followed his normal pregame routine for a start, but then watched De La Rosa's two innings before warming back up to enter the game.

"It's different because as pitchers we're so routine-oriented," Shipley said. "I told a couple of guys that when I did go out there and pitch, finally got on the mound, I was like, 'I'm in the game right now,' it just kind of felt weird, I felt like rushed a little bit. But if that's what my role's going to be, I'll get used to it. Really it's just about going out there and throwing strikes and doing the same thing I've been doing."

Shipley, Arizona's first-round pick in the 2013 draft, has thrown 170 1/3 innings this season between the D-backs and Triple-A Reno, the most he's pitched in a year during his professional career.

Shipley is 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA in nine games (eight starts) this season. He has shown flashes of greatness during his first stint in the Majors, such as when he threw six scoreless innings against the Dodgers on July 30 and hurled seven scoreless against the Mets on August 11.

"He's throwing his breaking ball, he's changed speeds on his fastball, he's used his change-up in fastball counts," manager Chip Hale said. "It's a lot of what Zack [Greinke] does. How Greinke pitches, Shipley does the same thing. It's very impressive for a young guy who has learned how to pitch basically in professional baseball, he was an infielder before it. He really pitches well and we want him to continue doing that and getting outs, that's a big key."

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.