D-Backs pull rookie during no-hitter after six innings and only 71 pitches

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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Alex Young throws against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 7, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Alex Young throws against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 7, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP)

In just his second career MLB start, Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Alex Young had a chance to make a big piece of history after six innings. Unfortunately, that was as far as he’d get.

The Diamondbacks pulled Young after six no-hit innings and 71 pitches in their first-half finale against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

Any chance at a combined no-hitter went out the window immediately, as reliever Yoshihisa Hirano allowed an infield single to open the seventh inning. The Diamondbacks later won 5-3 with Young earning the win.

Why did the D-Backs pull Alex Young?

While the decision could be considered another episode in the battle between rookie pitch counts against no-hitters, it makes some sense given Young’s season up to this point.

The 25-year-old was pitching out of the Triple-A Reno Aces bullpen until May 12, and didn’t reach five innings in an outing until June. He threw 74 pitches in his MLB debut on June 27, then only 26 in a relief outing against the Dodgers last Tuesday.

His six innings on Sunday alone represented a season-high between his time in the majors and minors, though he had thrown 96 and 94 pitches in two different starts last months for Reno.

D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo explained why he pulled Young after the game, citing his lack of innings in previous starts and moving out of the bullpen.

“It was the right move for him because he’s never been beyond that,” Lovullo said. “He’s been pushed into a starting role and his pitch count has been in that area, never really been beyond that innings-wise. I know the pitch count has climbed, but we’ve been moving back and forth, in and out of the pen.

“For a variety of reasons, it was time. There was no way he was going to get three more innings out of his pitch count. There’s nothing more important to me than the good health of our young players.”

Young agreed with the rationale while talking with reporters.

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