Calf strain lands Saito on DL; Miley takes spot

Calf strain lands Saito on DL; Miley takes spot

Calf strain lands Saito on DL; Miley takes spot
PHOENIX -- Takashi Saito's calf injury threw a bit of a wrench into the D-backs' roster plans, as the righty reliever was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday.

An MRI Wednesday morning revealed a right calf strain, and Saito won't be eligible to come off the DL until April 15. Manager Kirk Gibson announced lefty Wade Miley will assume Saito's roster spot, the lone remaining on Arizona's Opening Day roster.

For much of the spring, Gibson's bullpen appeared set. But Saito's injury, which he sustained while stretching before Tuesday's game, changed things.

It left Miley and lefty Mike Zagurski as the two remaining options. Zagurski has looked very impressive this spring, but Gibson said long relief can't be overlooked early in the season. That sealed the job as Miley's, given his background as a starter.

"Right now your starters aren't stretched out as much, so you tend to rely more on your bullpen," Gibson said. "I would rather do that then push the [starters] early in the season."

Zagurski was outrighted to Triple-A Reno, meaning he cleared waivers. The D-backs acquired Zagurski from Philadelphia last September, and he was out of options this spring.

Zagurski finished Spring Training with a 2.61 ERA, while opposing hitters hit just .189 against him. His stats were better than Miley's (5.59 ERA) but Miley seemed to fit what Gibson was searching for a little better.

Gibson pointed to Joe Paterson as his matchup lefty and said Craig Breslow would be his second option for left-handed hitters -- a guy who could go an inning, and at most two. That left room for Miley to fill in as the club's long man because Gibson didn't feel comfortable stretching out Breslow or Bryan Shaw.

"If you don't have a guy that can pitch 4-5 innings, then you blow your bullpen out for days," Gibson said.

That said, it's likely Gibson will be more comfortable in two weeks without a long man because his starters will be stretched out further and working deeper into games. That would seem to put Miley in position to return to the Reno starting rotation when Saito is healthy.