Arizona Diamondbacks: Branden Shipley still on starter-bullpen bubble

Sep 30, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Braden Shipley (35) throws during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Braden Shipley (35) throws during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

Right-hander Branden Shipley of the Arizona Diamondbacks was satisfied with his first outing of the spring

No one can blame righthander Braden Shipley of the Arizona Diamondbacks for approaching this spring with uncertainty. In limbo between starting and the bullpen, Shipley is considered on the bubble to make the final 25-man roster in either role.

Though Shipley started Sunday against Colorado at Salt River, his position within the construction of the roster remains uncertain. Manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes before Sunday’s game that Shipley simply started that game, but his status as a starter is far from resolved.

Against the Rockies, Shipley’s time was limited to once around the batting order. Facing nine hitters, Shipley allowed three hits, three runs and walked one in his total of 36 pitches (21 for strikes). On his just the second pitch thrown, Rockies’ lead-off hitter Charlie Blackmon drilled a line drive over the right-center field fence, and Shipley was quickly behind.

To Shipley, numbers were not much of a concern in taking an eventual 6-1 loss to the Rockies before 8,062 at Salt River.

"“All three of my pitches did what I wanted, and I was satisfied,” Shipley told Venom Strikes afterward. “I felt good, felt strong and I know this is a process. The velocity on my fast ball was good and my curve is back to normal. I struggled earlier this spring with the curve, but now that’s fine. I’ll learn from mistakes and move forward.”"

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Lovullo gave Shipley the benefit of the doubt and recognized an initial outing of the spring is hardly a barometer from which to make a particular judgment.

"“I think (Shipley’s) execution was not where he wanted,” Lovullo told Venom Strikes. “This was just his first time out, but he battled out there.”"

Called up from Triple-A Reno in the middle of last season, Shipley started 11 games at the major-league level, posted a 4-5 record and a 5.27 ERA. Bunched in with Archie Bradley, Ruby De La Rosa, Patrick Corbin, Zack Godley and Matt Koch for attention as a starter, Shipley will likely be one of those pitchers needed to fill in during the season. Managers and other club officials like to say that the season begins with a 25-man roster but the season ends with a player population around 40.

Given the reality of injury and player movement, Shipley could be one of those to plug a hole later in the season. At this point, he may or may not be regarded as a serious candidate for a starting spot. That could be evident by his effort on Sunday.

Given the early nature of spring training, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that he’d allow a few early starts from influencing decisions on certain players. By the time a pitcher reaches his third or fourth outing of the spring, the evaluation process is expected to be in high gear, and players given a clearer statement of their status.

“This is what, February and the first outing of the spring,” Shipley continued. “I was excited to out there, and the ball came out of my hand really good. Next time out, I’ll work on getting the ball down in the strike zone.”

An update

Right-handed reliever Jake Barrett has been shut down indefinitely.

Right shoulder inflammation was discovered and an MRI was taken. Before Sunday’s pre-season game with Colorado, manager Torey Lovullo revealed the extent of the injury.

“It’s a shoulder issue, and Jake is behind,” Lovullo told Venom Strikes. “Right now, he’s day-to-day but will lose him for an undetermined amount of time.”


The Diamondbacks return to Salt River Monday afternoon.

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They take on the Cincinnati Reds (1:10 p.m.) Lefty Patrick Corbin gets his first start of the spring, and Anthony Banda, J. J. Hoover, Brain Matusz, Andrew Chafin, Frank Duncan and Erik Downs are available behind Corbin. The Reds are slated to start right-hander Scott Feldman.