Alexander makes opening day squad. Montgomery not on roster, so D-Backs can't make qualifying offer

PHOENIX (AP) — Blaze Alexander was on the Arizona Diamondbacks' opening day roster. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery was not.

Alexander was to make his big league debut at designated hitter for the defending National League champion Diamondbacks against Colorado on Thursday night.

The 24-yerar-old was taken in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft and methodically working his way up the minor league system. He hit .400 with two homers, four doubles, two triples and five stolen bases in a stellar spring training

Montgomery agreed to a $25 million, one-year deal on Tuesday that was subject to a successful physical. Because with he was not in the organization on opening day, the Diamondbacks cannot make a qualifying offer to him as a free agent and would not be eligible to get an additional pick in the 2025 amateur draft if he leaves Arizona at the end of the season and signs with another team.

Alexander forced his way into the big leagues with a hot bat and defensive versatility — he can play third base, shortstop and second base.

“When you watch a player evolve and deserve this opportunity, he's so easy to root for, and he did it, he earned it," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We didn't just hand him the opportunity. We had to move on from a very good player who we trusted very much and it was a very tough decision.

“But Blaze did what we want all young players to do — plow his way into the conversation and take advantage of things.”

The tough decision Lovullo referenced was deciding between Alexander and Emmanuel Rivera, who was designated for assignment. Rivera, 27, hit .261 with four homers and 29 RBIs last season and went 2-for-5 in last year's World Series.

Alexander hit .292 with eight homers and 52 RBIs at Triple-A Reno last season. The D-backs posted a video of Lovullo telling Alexander he made the team.

“My dreams came true in that moment,” Alexander said. “That's what I've worked so hard for my whole life and it's good to see it pay off.”

In other roster moves, outfielder Randal Grichuk started the season on the 10-day injured list as he continues his recovery from right ankle surgery. Closer Paul Sewald (oblique strain) and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (left shoulder strain) were put on the 15-day injured list.

Rodriguez signed an $80 million, four-year deal with Arizona during the offseason.