The Arizona Diamondbacks will be without another important pitcher when the regular season begins Thursday. Closer Paul Sewald has a Grade 2 oblique strain and will start the season on the injured list, manager Torey Lovullo announced Monday (per the Arizona Republic). The D-backs recently lost lefty Eduardo Rodriguez to a lat strain.

Sewald, 33, was acquired from the Seattle Mariners at last season's trade deadline in a move that really settled Arizona's bullpen. After having a revolving door in the ninth inning in the first half, the D-backs installed Sewald at closer, and Kevin Ginkel and Ryan Thompson soon emerged as trusted setup men. That late-inning trio helped the D-backs reach the World Series.

Paul Sewald
ARI • RP • #38
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In 65 appearances with the Mariners and D-backs, Sewald had a 3.12 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings in 2023. Over the last three seasons, he owns a 2.95 ERA with 256 strikeouts in only 189 1/3 innings. The Mariners signed him to a minor league contract in January 2021 and Sewald quickly emerged as one of the game's top ninth-inning relievers.

The D-backs and Lovullo essentially used a closer by committee approach before the Sewald trade last season. A Grade 2 oblique strain means Sewald will miss several weeks. Until he returns, Lovullo's bullpen could shake out like this:

Following the Rodriguez injury, Lovullo indicated the D-backs will carry a true long reliever because they'll have one fewer innings-eater in the rotation. Jarvis is the true long man, and Frías has shown he can throw multiple innings on occasion. Ultimately, Sewald's injury bumps Ginkel and Thompson into the eighth and ninth. They'll need someone to cover the seventh inning now.

A year ago, the D-backs went 84-78 and reached the postseason as a wild-card team. They won the second pennant in franchise history before losing the World Series to the Texas Rangers in five games.