SAN FRANCISCO – By optioning right-hander Matt Andriese to the minor leagues and recalling Triple-A slugger Christian Walker, the Diamondbacks on Tuesday took a step toward fortifying their rotation depth while also strengthening their bench.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Andriese will report to Salt River Fields before making a start later this week for High-A Visalia, the idea being that he’ll build himself up as a starting pitcher in case he’s needed in September. Andriese appears to be the club’s No. 6 starter, so to speak.

“The plan is to send him out, start him and just give him a little bit more versatility to create a little bit of length for us if needed,” Lovullo said, adding there were no immediate plans for Andriese to join the rotation in September.

Andriese will pitch for Visalia, Lovullo said, because it is close geographically and it was relatively easy to find room for him in the rotation to get the innings he needs.

The Diamondbacks had been playing with an eight-man bullpen. They’ll now be at seven for the next four days until Saturday, when rosters expand at the beginning of September.

Because of that extra arm in the bullpen, the Diamondbacks had been playing with a short bench. Walker gets them back to five, and he could be a weapon, particularly against left-handed pitchers. In addition to facing Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks are set to face three lefty starters in Los Angeles later this week.

Walker is stepping into a role in which he thrived last September. He swung the bat so well late in the year the club opted to put him on the roster for the wild-card game and the division series against the Dodgers.

“I felt like I had a role last year,” Walker said. “That was a lot of fun for me to be in Triple-A and not on the roster, then to come up and be a part of this team late.”

Said Lovullo: “He was on our playoff roster. That should speak volumes about what we think about him.”

Walker hit .299/.354/.568 with 18 homers in 324 at-bats with Reno this year.

Mind games

After his problems throwing to bases cost him a run against the Mariners on Friday night, Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Godley spent at least a half hour talking about the issue with pitching coach Mike Butcher and bullpen coach Mike Fetters in the Chase Field bullpen before Saturday’s game against the Mariners.

The three then left the bullpen and Godley worked on his throws in the main stadium, doing so in front of Mariners players who were doing early work on the field.

“He threw to every base perfectly,” Butcher said. “It was probably a total of 21 throws. He was really good.

“I think at the end of it all the results will speak for themselves and that’s the ultimate outcome. I think he’s in a good place. He’s just going to keep working on it.”

Godley was unable to throw accurately to third base to cut down Dee Gordon on a delayed steal attempt. Gordon was clearly testing Godley, whose problems throwing to bases have been magnified over the past two months.

Short hop

Lovullo said the club might look into the possibility of adding a fourth catcher to the roster in September. Part of his thinking, he said, is that it would make it easier for him to pinch-run and pinch-hit for his catchers knowing that he had another catcher on the bench in case of an emergency.


Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.