Rodrigo Lopez has a career ERA of 4.82 in 1,046.2 career innings. He enjoyed three excellent seasons with the Baltimore Orioles in 2002, 2004, and 2005, combining to go 44-30 with a 4.06 ERA. Since the end of 2005, however, Lopez is 17-23 with a 5.49 ERA.
There's no denying the Lopez has outpitched Billy Buckner and Kevin Mulvey, his main competition for the rotation spot, all spring. Lopez has a 2.35 spring ERA, along with 12 strikeouts to just three walks in 15.1 innings. Mulvey went 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA and seven walks in 9.2 innings while Buckner allowed a team-high four homers and had a 10.13 ERA before the pair were optioned to Triple-A Reno.
The D-backs will use a four-man rotation until April 17, when manager A.J. Hinch will turn to whatever pitcher has impressed the most at Reno.
"We have a lot of choices for the fifth starter," Hinch said, citing Mulvey, Buckner, Kris Benson, and Bryan Augenstein as candidates. "We'll make that [decision] when we have to."
Lopez is not currently on the D-backs' 40-man roster, so one player who is will need to be removed from it and exposed to waivers in order to accommodate the veteran.
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