After scrambling from Reno to New York, Slade Cecconi starts for Diamondbacks

NEW YORK (AP) — Slade Cecconi was having a great round at Red Hawk Golf and Resort in Reno, Nevada, when he got the call on the 13th hole. His round ended and his journey began.

After a flight to San Francisco and a connecting flight to New York, the 24-year-old right-hander started for the Arizona Diamondbacks in Saturday’s 10-5 win over the Mets, allowing one run over 4 2/3 innings.

“The last two days have been very long. I’m excited to go to sleep tonight and have a good meal after this,” he said.

Cecconi made his Major League debut with the Diamondbacks on August 2 and got his first strikeout when a hit pitch call was turned into a foul tip in a video review. He went 0-1 with a 4.33 ERA over four starts and three relief appearances in a pair of stints before returning to Triple-A Reno this season.

Cecconi was returned to the major leagues when Merrill Kelly injured his throwing shoulder and earned his first win in San Francisco on April 21. He was demoted on May 21 after going 0–4 in his next five starts.

When Arizona standout Zac Gallen strained his right hamstring in the first inning of Thursday’s series opener at the Mets, the Diamondbacks had Reno Aces manager Blake Lalli call up the rookie. The prospect had received a telephone notification of Gallen’s injury and wondered if he would receive a call.

“I went to the field, grabbed all my bags and stuff and went back home, packed,” Cecconi said. “I got up at four in the morning to catch a flight at six in the morning, flew about seven hours total that day, yesterday, came here in the first inning of the game, threw in the batting cages to to get some work and then it happened today.”

Cecconi threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of 18 batters and 46 strikes over 71 pitches. He averaged 93 mph on 34 fastballs, also throwing 27 sliders, eight curveballs and two changeups.

He allowed Mark Vientos’ leadoff home run in the fifth and was relieved by Kevin Ginkel with two outs and a runner on. Cecconi gave up five hits, struck out four and walked none as the Diamondbacks halted a five-game losing streak.

“Slade did a great job,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “It was 18 batters and I just wanted to secure it and get it under control. It’s a chance for Slade to win the game, I know that. It was 4 2/3. It was very close, but this is a team game and Kevin Ginkel was able to secure the victory for us.”

Cecconi said it may have been an advantage that there wasn’t much preparation time.

“I’m going to go out there and get my mechanics in place for the game and then stay aggressive,” he said. “We had a plan to be aggressive in the zone early and get ahead of those guys. So that was a special focus.”

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