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D-backs’ pitchers get shelled in loss to the White Sox

Arizona Diamondbacks' Nick Ahmed, left, tags out Chicago White Sox's Adam Engel (15) on a steal-attempt during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 19, 2018, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Diamondbacks’ relief pitchers looked to impress in Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, but instead gave up nearly ten earned runs in a 15-2 rout.

Reliever Albert Suarez started on the mound for the D-backs, lasting 2.2 innings and allowing five hits and five earned runs. He also walked three batters and struck out two more.

Competing for playing time in the D-backs’ bullpen, pitchers Neftali Feliz, Kris Medlen, and Fernando Salas all had an opportunity to shine on Monday in one of the final games at Salt River Fields this spring.

Salas had the best day of the three against Chicago, only allowing one hit and no runs in one inning.

“We love what we see out of him,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Salas after the game. “He’s been throwing the ball very well, locating the ball, changing speeds. The things we need him to do, he’s been doing.

“What I keep telling everybody is ‘keep doing your job and making these decisions as hard as possible for us.’”

Medlen pitched two innings in his relief appearance, allowing six hits, one walk, and three earned runs with two strikeouts.

As for Feliz, his day was one to forget.

The right-hander did not register an out in his appearance, allowing five earned runs by way of five hits.

Like their defense, the D-backs’ offense also struggled.

Arizona didn’t register a hit until the bottom of the eighth when a double from catcher Alberto Rosario and a triple from outfielder Luis Silverio plated the D-backs’ first run of the game.

As a team, Arizona only recorded three hits on the day compared to 20 by the White Sox.

CLOSER TO THE CLOSER

The closer position is still up in the air for Lovullo and the D-backs. He confirmed he would like to have that decision set by the time the team is playing back at Chase Field on Monday, March 26th.

Brad Boxberger and Archie Bradley have emerged as the two top candidates for the position, with Yoshi Hirano also in the mix.

Bradley has a 4.91 ERA in 7.1 innings this spring. He tossed a scoreless inning on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.

Lovullo said that Bradley “checks all those boxes” in regards to what he’s looking for in a closer.

“You’re looking at for a little bit of mound presence, stuff, and then late action in the hitting zone,” he said before Monday’s game.

Boxberger pitched one inning in a Minor League game on Sunday against Triple-A Sacramento. The right-hander had an efficient outing, striking out three batters on nine pitches.

In four innings this spring, Boxberger has a 2.25 ERA and has allowed four hits.

BASE HITS

– Relief pitchers Andrew Chafin and T.J. McFarland also threw in the Minor League game with Boxberger on Sunday. Chafin allowed two hits and no runs along with one strikeout and no walks in two innings. McFarland also pitched two innings, allowing three hits, one walk, and one earned run while striking out four.

– Robbie Ray will start on Tuesday against the Angels. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

– The Phoenix Suns will celebrate D-backs Night during Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Torey Lovullo and Luis Gonzalez are among the D-backs who will be in attendance.

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