As one promising shortstop prepares to make his debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks, another proven middle infielder is saying goodbye after 10 seasons with the club.
Jordan Lawlar, the sixth overall pick in the 2021 draft, is expected to make his major league debut on Thursday night when the Diamondbacks open a four-game road series against the Chicago Cubs.
To make room for Lawlar on the major league roster, the Diamondbacks designated Nick Ahmed for assignment. The 10-year veteran has played his entire major league career with Arizona, winning Gold Gloves in 2018 and ’19.
Ahmed saw his batting average had slipped to .212, however, and he was 0-for-10 through four games in September after batting .209 in August.
He hadn’t homered since June 10.
Still, it was a surprise to Ahmed.
“Disappointed obviously. Spent a long time here, just gave it everything I got,” he said. “Ten years and ripping a Band-Aid off in 10 minutes.”
Lawlar was hitting .358 in 16 games with Triple-A Reno, blasting five home runs and driving in 19 runs.
The Diamondbacks (72-68) are coming off a 12-5 victory against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon, keeping them in the hunt for a National League wild-card spot. They are a half-game behind the Miami Marlins (72-67), who occupy the NL’s final playoff position.
It’s also a big series for Chicago (76-64), which can move within a game of the first-place Brewers (77-62) in the NL Central with a win on Thursday. Milwaukee, which has lost three of four, has the day off.
The Cubs have won four in a row to climb 12 games above .500 for the first time this season, most recently completing a three-game sweep against the visiting San Francisco Giants with an 8-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon.
Chicago received another strong performance on Wednesday from rookie left-hander Jordan Wicks, who won his third straight start to begin his major league career.
The Cubs will hand the ball to another rookie in the series opener against Arizona. Javier Assad (3-2, 2.69 ERA) is set to make his 26th appearance and eighth start of the season.
Assad went 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts in August before throwing eight shutout innings in his most recent outing on Saturday at Cincinnati. He scattered seven hits, struck out seven and walked one but did not earn a decision in Chicago’s 2-1 loss.
Assad was in good position for a victory when Chicago took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, but the Reds scored two runs to walk it off.
“I want to go out there and give it my all,” Assad said. “Thank God, everything has been going great. Whatever the team needs from me, I’ll go out there and just execute it.”
Diamondbacks right fielder Corbin Carroll, the front-runner for the NL Rookie of the Year award, left the Wednesday game in the fourth inning after he was hit by pitches in two consecutive at-bats. The team stated that he had a right wrist contusion. However, he is expected to return on Thursday if the soreness subsides.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo announced after the Wednesday game that right-hander Ryne Nelson would be recalled from Reno to make the start on Thursday.
Nelson (6-7, 5.47 ERA) last pitched for the Diamondbacks on Aug. 11, when he allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings during a 10-5 loss to the visiting San Diego Padres. He was optioned to the minors two days later.
–Field Level Media