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Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly scratched from Sunday start with shoulder discomfort

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Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly has been scratched from Sunday’s start against the San Francisco Giants¬†with shoulder discomfort, manager Torey Lovullo said (via MLB.com). Kelly had an MRI Saturday night and is now headed back to Phoenix to be evaluated. Lovullo said Sunday the team is hopeful that Kelly can avoid the IL. Slade Cecconi will take the start instead.

Cecconi was just called up Sunday when Arizona sent reliever Justin Martinez to Triple-A. The fact Martinez was sent down rather than Kelly being placed on the injured list could be good news for the latter’s outlook.

Kelly, 35, has been outstanding this season, pitching to a 2.19 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in four starts. He’s averaging over six innings per start and has allowed no more than two runs each time out. Kelly has simply been one of the best pitchers in the National League the last few years. Losing him for any length of time would be an enormous loss.

Jordan Montgomery made his D-backs debut Friday night and pitched very well. That said, Arizona is without Eduardo Rodriguez, who is on the 60-day injured list with a lat strain, and also Ryne Nelson. Nelson got hit in the elbow by a comebacker in his most recent outing. Cecconi and Tommy Henry are the top candidates to replace Kelly if it lasts more than Sunday’s start.

The D-backs enter play Sunday with a 10-12 record. The defending NL champs are 5-2 against the Colorado Rockies and 5-10 against all other teams.

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