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Arizona Diamondbacks: Rotation status uncertain for Archie Bradley

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Mar 12, 2017; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Archie Bradley (25) throws during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants during a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2017; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Archie Bradley (25) throws during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants during a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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Right-hander Archie Bradley of the Arizona Diamondbacks turned in his best outing of the spring against the Giants

If right-hander Archie Bradley of the Arizona Diamondbacks needed to create separation with others on the bubble for a spot in the rotation, that did not happen in his latest outing. Bradley’s status remains neutral at best, but his effort Sunday against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale Stadium was clearly better than his last outing.

On March 7 against Oakland at Salt River, he allowed six runs, all earned and walked two in 1.1 innings. Sporting a 17.43 spring ERA coming into his start against the Giants, Bradley’s high energy, and upbeat tempo was challenged. Concerned with both his previous effort and his status as a potential starter, Bradley picked himself off the mat and told Venom Strikes that his effort against the Giants was his best this spring.

"I saw many positives coming out of this game. I was able to work out of that bases loaded jam and that’s something you’ll face during the season. I was focused on making pitches and minimizing damage."

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The bases loaded situation from which Bradley referenced occurred in the second inning. Here, the Giants filled the sacks with none out and shortstop Kelby Tomlinson lifted a soft fly to right field that found the ground between right fielder Oswaldo Arcia and the line. That scored two, but the fact the ball was not hard hit was attributed to Bradley’s command of the strike zone. Overall, Bradley allowed one earned run in his four innings of work.

Catching Bradley for the second time this spring, catcher Jeff Mathis told Venom Strikes that Bradley’s command was strong and the effort promising.

"I thought (Bradley) threw the ball well. He was mixing in his cutter and curve and those pitches were effective. I thought he mixed his pitches very well."

For his part, manager Torey Lovullo did not pass judgment on Bradley’s quest to land a spot in the rotation. The calendar is now in mid-March, so Bradley could have three, perhaps four more starts in camp to make that lasting impression. Afterward, Lovullo told Venom Strikes he, however, struck a chord with Bradley about the quality of his start.

"I agree with Archie’s assessment. He threw his fast ball down and had a good four-pitch mix. We stretched him out to four innings and I thought he pitched well."

Early exit

Centerfielder A. J. Pollock left Sunday’s game with the Giants after one inning with mild left groin tightness. Pollock opened the contest with his first spring home run in an eventual, 12-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants before 10,412 in Scottsdale Stadium.

On Sept. 9 last season, Pollock injured the same groin, was placed on the disabled list and missed the remainder of the season. After the game, manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes the injury to Pollock occurred when he started to run off the homer. The home run was not called immediately, and Pollock told Lovullo he felt a twinge in his groin running. For precautionary measures, Pollock was immediately removed from the game and will be elevated on Monday.

Also …

Right-hander Shelby Miller threw four scoreless innings in a minor-league game Sunday morning on the Salt River campus.

Like all starters at this stage of spring training, Miller was held to four innings and 60 pitches. He walked no hitters and is next expected to face either the Seattle Mariners at Salt River on Friday or the Oakland A’s in Mesa Friday. The Diamondbacks have a split-squad doubleheader on Friday.

WBC update

Reliever Silvino Bracho, pitching for Team Venezuela, left Saturday’s game with an apparent hamstring injury in the sixth inning. The injury occurred after Bracho delivered a pitch to Gavin Cecchini of Team Italy.

Before Sunday’s game with the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale Stadium, manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes that the club is in touch with the Team Venezuela medical team and Bracho is expected to arrive back in Arizona late Sunday or Monday.

"We are aware of what happened and in contact with Silvino and the training staff. He had a few appearances for us in camp but prepared for the WBC. He was throwing the ball well here, and we’ll carefully monitor his situation."

In 26 games for the Diamondbacks last season, Bracho went 0-2 and a 7.30 ERA. At Triple A-Reno, the 24-year old was 0-2 with a 4.81 ERA in 36 appearances.

Next

On Monday, the Diamondbacks are off, but opening day starter Zack Greinke is scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game. Manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes that the day is important because the schedule keeps Greinke on target to open the season against the Giants April 2 in Chase Field. Greinke is slated to go four innings or throw 60 pitches, whichever comes first.

Next: Corbin battles for rotation spot

The Diamondbacks resume their spring slate Tuesday at Salt River (1:10 p.m.) against the Texas Rangers. Lovullo said he would name his starter for the Rangers’ game during Monday’s off-day.

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