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Arizona Diamondbacks: Several relievers on the bubble

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Mar 9, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Dominican Republic pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) throws a pitch in the eighth inning against Canada during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. Dominican Republic won 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Dominican Republic pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) throws a pitch in the eighth inning against Canada during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. Dominican Republic won 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
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Jake Barrett (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

The case for J. J. Hoover

After five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, reliever J. J. Hoover was released, but quickly signed to a minor-league contract by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Like Tom Wilhelmsen, Hoover’s value to the Reds was as a middle reliever.

If Wilhelmsen emerges as the Diamondback’s set-up man, at least until Jake Barrett recovers from shoulder stiffness to claim that role, then Hoover would likely be relegated to the seventh inning.

Hoover shows the ability to stretch across multiple innings.

Given the starters collective inability to go deep into games, Hoover could emerge into a significant contributor.

So far this spring, he has shown nothing to dispel that notion. Pitching into his second inning of relief Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals, Hoover shows the ability to stretch across multiple innings. For his first seven appearances this spring, Hoover had a 0.00 ERA.

As with Wilhelmsen, Hoover gives manager Torey Lovullo experience over other candidates. If Rodney, who spent time with seven major league teams before signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, allows Arizona a presence at the back end of the bullpen, then the experience of Hoover and Wilhelmsen could create a certain comfort level among middle relievers.

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