PHOENIX -- In an effort to give their bullpen a breather, the Diamondbacks optioned rookie right-hander Max Scherzer to Triple-A Tucson and recalled Billy Buckner on Friday.
The D-backs finished their road trip in New York by playing two consecutive extra-innings affairs where they were forced to use eight pitchers for 12 innings. On Tuesday, Arizona also used five more relievers for the final 4 2/3 innings of a 9-5 win over the Mets.
Manager Bob Melvin wanted to make it clear that Scherzer's demotion had nothing to do with his performance during his first Major League stint.
"It's certainly not performance-based. He did terrific for us," Melvin said. "We needed a little bit more length and we had a need for guys to be able to go back-to-back days. ... He hasn't done that before."
Scherzer, 23, was developed in the Minors as a starter and started three games for the D-backs, in addition to making seven appearances in relief. He went 0-2 with a 2.90 ERA with 14 walks and 33 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Melvin didn't have a specific plan for Scherzer once he's back in Tucson, saying the Sidewinders may use him in a relief role or as a starter.
Buckner started 14 games for the Sidewinders, going 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA. In his last outing on June 10, Buckner pitched eight shutout innings. It's Buckner's second stint with a Major League club. The first was last year with the Royals from Aug. 25 to Sept. 27.
"We saw [Buckner] in Spring Training some," Melvin said. "He's got a real good curveball. He's working on his changeup. His fastball is kind of up and down, in and out. I don't know too terribly much about him other than what I saw of him in Spring Training."
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.