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Diamondbacks Make Roster Moves: Saalfrank and Smith Optioned, Andrus Released

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Andrew Saalfrank (57) throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning in Game 4 of the 2023 World Series at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. The DBacks lost to the Rangers 11-7, putting the Ranger at 3-1 in the World Series.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have trimmed their camp roster to 32 players by optioning LHP Andrew Saalfrank and OF Pavin Smith to Triple-A Reno.

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In addition to these moves, Elvis Andrus has been released, and Jose Castillo has been reassigned to the minor league camp.

While sending Pavin Smith down makes sense due to the team’s outfield depth and Smith’s .188 batting average through 69 games last season, the decision to move Andrew Saalfrank has raised some eyebrows.

As a rookie in 2023, Saalfrank was called up to make his debut in September. He proved instrumental for the D-backs down the stretch, allowing just two earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched out of the bullpen.

Then, despite some control issues in back-to-back outings during the NLCS against the Phillies, the 26-year-old excelled in the postseason, throwing five shutout innings across nine appearances.

The release of Elvis Andrus also came as a surprise. Earlier this month, the Diamondbacks had sent top prospect Jordan Lawlar to Triple-A, suggesting Andrus would serve as their backup shortstop.

Originally signed in February, Andrus’s departure suggests the team may turn to Blaze Alexander as the backup option. Alexander, who has progressed through the D-backs’ minor league system since 2018, has impressed during spring camp, boasting a .400 batting average in 47 at-bats.

Blaze’s versatility extends across multiple infield positions, such as shortstop, third base, and second base, rendering him a valuable asset for depth.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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