Zachary Duke, 27, compiled a 45-70 record and 4.54 ERA (486 ER in 964.1 IP) with 263 walks and 505 strikeouts over parts of six seasons with the Pirates from 2005-10. Since being named an All-Star in 2009, Duke has struggled. The left-hander went 3-8 with a 5.17 ERA after the break, then posted an 8-15 record and 5.72 ERA with the Pirates in 2010. Whereas Duke was twice the Opening Day starter for Pittsburgh, the Diamondbacks will be counting on Duke to anchor the back end of their young rotation and eat some innings.
"He's coming off kind of a down year, but that's how you get guys like this," D-backs general manager Towers said of Duke. "He's a guy I've liked in the past, and looking at the Diamondbacks reports they liked him as well."
Duke primarily uses a sinker, curveball, and changeup to induce ground ball outs, but will occasionally show a slider as well. The velocity on his two-seamer dipped last season, but he still managed a 48% ground ball percentage for the year. The infield defense behind Duke will go a long way towards determining the kind of season he will have.
"We think there's still a lot of upside there," concluded Towers.
The move brings the D-backs' 40-man roster to 40 players. In other news,
the Diamondbacks offered arbitration to first baseman Adam LaRoche and reliever
Aaron Heilman. If the players decline arbitration and sign as free agents
elsewhere, Arizona will be awarded compensation in the 2011 June draft.
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