Developing story:

Rookie Bradley makes case to crack D-backs' rotation

The SportsXchange

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Top prospect Archie Bradley is making a strong push for a spot in the Arizona rotation after two scoreless spring training starts, and the Diamondbacks plan to give the 21-year-old right-hander another test in Australia.

Bradley will start the D-backs' exhibition game against the Australian national team on March 21, the day before Arizona begins a two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Sydney, Australia. The rookie received the assignment in part to see how he handles a change of environment.

"One of the things he told us was that he has to become better at keeping the game slowed down," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He has great stuff, but it happens to us all. Kind of give him the exposure (in Australia). It is important to give him that. It helps to get him into more elevated, more high-leverage situations that he has to deal with and keep control of."

Bradley gave up three hits in 6 1/3 innings in starts against the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels, striking out nine and walking four. Miguel Montero and Henry Blanco each caught him once, and both were impressed. Blanco called Bradley "electric" after the Colorado start, and Montero said Bradley showed good command of his curveball against the Angels on March 8.

"I feel good," Bradley said. "That's what spring is all about, figuring out where you are stuff-wise. Arm-wise, I feel good. I'm just going to keep fine-tuning things until it's time to go. Pitching in Australia is a lot different than an eight-hour bus ride to Birmingham, Alabama, or something like that. I'm looking forward to it. I think it's an honor."

Bronson Arroyo missed a scheduled start March 4 because of a bulging disk in his lower back. He got an epidural the following day, then didn't pitch off a mound the remainder of the week. With his availability in question, the D-backs are keeping all options open for a fifth starter behind Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Brandon McCarthy.

The organizational thinking at this point seems to be that if Arroyo is close to rejoining the rotation early in the season, Randall Delgado could pick up a start or two until he returns. Delgado is stretched out as a starter this spring, and he made 19 starts last season.

"He's still in the mix," Gibson said of Bradley. "Kind of waiting to see how Arroyo works out, kind of how the whole dynamic of the starting staff will work out. This next week will tell us a lot. See how everything pans out. See how they are throwing the ball, health-wise, et cetera. There are so many scenarios, but they are not worth talking about."

Bradley, 21, is not being considered for a bullpen role, Gibson said.

NOTES, QUOTES

--LHP Oliver Perez agreed a two-year, $4.25 contract with the Diamondbacks on March 7. He is expected to be the top left-hander out of the bullpen, but the D-backs had yet to acknowledge the deal is official, even though Perez had a locker in the clubhouse, wore No. 59 and threw a bullpen session at Salt River Fields on March 9.

--LHP Patrick Corbin will throw the first pitch in the major leagues this season when he starts the D-backs' season-opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 22 in Australia, with RHP Trevor Cahill going the second game. Cahill was 14-8 with a 3.33 ERA and earned his first All-Star appearance last season after making the team as the fifth starter. "I'm going to approach it as another ballgame and try to do my best. Whether it is the first or whatever, that doesn't mean too much to me," Corbin said. "It's exciting the Diamondbacks are giving me the opportunity to start the first game. I think everybody wants to start the first game. It's an honor."

--RHP Bronson Arroyo, scratched from a March 2 start because of a herniated disk, played long toss March 8 and March 9 and said the initial session "wasn't that good. It was too stiff for me to get after it." Arroyo is tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session March 12 and get into his second spring training game March 14. He believes he will be ready for the start of the U.S. regular season if he gets four more spring starts. Arroyo is not expected to travel with the team to Australia.

--OF Cody Ross slid March 8 for the first time since suffering a fractured hip on Aug. 4, and he also hit and ran 90 at percent out of the batter's box in a camp game on March 9. "The thing I'll say about Cody, unlike other guys we've had come back from serious injuries, everything that he has done has been good," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's really had no setbacks. Every step of the way, it has all been great. When he slid yesterday, he just attacked it. No apprehension at all." Ross is likely to make his first spring appearance as a pinch hitter, Gibson said. The veteran is unlikely to play for Arizona during the Australia trip.

--LHP Wade Miley and RHP Brandon McCarthy are not expected to travel with the D-backs to Australia because they will not be used. "They don't have to do the travel and back," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're just trying to prepare to win as many games as we can, and we figure that is the way to go." Miley was considered for a bullpen role, Gibson said, but the team thought better of it.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Numbers mean absolutely nothing to me right now. Just trying to work on stuff. Obviously, results are great. It doesn't translate. If there is something specific you are working on that gets you more comfortable for the season, that is the best thing to do right now." -- Diamondbacks CF A.J. Pollock, who was 10-for-25 in his first 11 spring games.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (2)