Arizona Diamondbacks: Torey Lovullo slow to fill rotation spots
By Mark Brown
Potential starters of the Arizona Diamondbacks are not worried about manager Torey Lovullo’s lack of an announcement.
With less than two weeks remaining before opening day, manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks seems to have a roster full of blanks. Lovullo reminds listeners that competition continues to drive decisions and the starting shortstop has yet to be determined. The same can be said for the starting rotation.
Only Zack Grienke, named as Lovullo’s opening day starter, has been formally announced as a member of the rotation. Those in the mix are simply not concerned. Primarily lefties Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray have thrown extremely well this spring, but Lovulo’s silence has had little effect.
With another strong effort Tuesday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals at Salt River, Ray continues to steamroll toward a spot in the rotation. Going five solid innings and a pitch count of 78 (50 for strikes), Ray told Venom Strikes is not concerned with his status, and his spring training journey is complete.
"I’m not worried, I know (Lovullo) has his process. All I can do is go out there and put myself in a good position. I feel that I’m doing that."
With only five walks thus far in 17.2 innings and a 2.70 ERA in five starts, Ray told Venom Strikes that he cannot do much more to prepare for the season ahead. Because landing breaking pitches for strikes was a principal goal coming into spring training, Ray appears to have addressed that issue. Overall, the native of Brentwood, Tenn. believes he’s prepared as best he can.
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"I feel ready. If the season started next week, I feel I’m ready to go. All my pitches are crisp and they feel good coming out of my hand."
Despite Ray’s solid spring and ditto for Corbin, Lovullo would only comment on Ray’s effort to Venom Strikes on Tuesday.
"Impressive outing for (Ray). He let us play downhill baseball. He mixed in his curve the entire outing and that’s what we wanted to see."
On the diamond, a second-inning home run from Chris Herrmann and a three-spot in the fifth powered the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals before 10,131 at Salt River. Ray picked up the win and increased his spring record to 3-0.
With the victory, the Arizona Diamondbacks move to 13-10-1 with seven games remaining on their spring slate.
Before Tuesday’s game, the Diamondbacks optioned right-handed reliever Evan Marshall to Triple-A Reno. Manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes that Marshall needs to refine elements of his game, and made this promise.
"Evan has to be more consistent with his pitches. This was a tough move for us. If he does his job down there, we should see back here at some point in the season."
That leaves 44 players remaining in camp, and the Arizona Diamondbacks must get down to the mandated 25 by opening day.
Center-fielder A. J. Pollock, out since March 12 with a groin issue, began running and was scheduled to have three at-bats in a minor-league game on Tuesday. He will take Wednesday off and then reevaluated on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Pollock did go 0-for-3, but Lovullo told Venom Strikes afterward this was not about results, but about getting Pollock ready, health-wise, for opening day.
Left-fielder Yasmany Tomas was given Tuesday off, and Wednesday is an off day for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tomas is slated to resume batting practice on Thursday and then subjected to further evaluation.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a scheduled day off on Wednesday, but that does not include pitchers Shelby Miller and Archie Bradley.
Each will pitch in a minor-league game in Scottsdale against minor league teams of the San Francisco Giants. Chris Herrmann and Hank Conger are scheduled to make that trip and catch.
Next: lack of velocity not a concern for Greinke
The Diamondbacks resume their spring slate on Thursday at Salt River against the Chicago Cubs. Right-hander Zack Greinke is slated to start for Arizona.