ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs pitcher Archie Bradley pleased with most effective outing of spring

Mar 12, 2017, 4:56 PM | Updated: 4:58 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks' Archie Bradley throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball g...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Archie Bradley throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, March 12, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Spring stats only mean so much. A hitter tearing the cover off the ball isn’t necessarily going to carry that momentum into the regular season. And a pitcher posting inflated numbers might simply be working on new pitches — or even tinkering with mechanics — before the games count for real.

That said, Archie Bradley entered Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants in front of 10,412 fans at Scottsdale Stadium carrying the weight of some heavy numbers on his shoulders. His 0-2 record in three spring appearances was largely irrelevant, but the 11 earned runs on 13 hits over 5.2 innings (a 17.57 ERA) was getting hard to ignore.

Throw in the fact that he’s competing for a spot in the rotation right now, and it’s easy to see why this was a pretty important outing for the former first-round draft pick (No. 7 overall in 2011).

Bradley started off strong, facing the minimum in the first. And the only batter to reach base was former Diamondback Aaron Hill, who got on as a result of an Oswaldo Arcia error in right. Hill was caught stealing later, so no damage was done.

The second frame was when Bradley got into some trouble, though it wasn’t entirely his fault. Jarrett Parker reached on an infield single when the D-backs’ Ketel Marte bounced his throw to Chris Herrmann at first. Bradley then committed an error himself by whipping a throw past Brandon Drury and into center field on a Conor Gillaspie grounder up the middle.

Trevor Brown followed up with a single to load the bases, and Kelby Tomlinson blooped a two-run double into right. Brown then scored on a ground out to short by Orlando Calixte for San Francisco’s third run of the inning.

Only one of the runs was earned though, and the Giants didn’t really hit Bradley all that hard.

“That’s what you’re looking for,” Bradley explained afterward. “Even the base hits – not to take credit away from them – they weren’t exactly hit very hard. I feel like, for the most part, I had pretty good command, I made good pitches and minimized damage before it could’ve kind of spun out of control.”

He settled back in after that, stranding a couple runners in the third, then working a one-two-three fourth to close out the day.

He finished with the one earned run allowed on five hits over four innings, with a pair of strikeouts mixed in. And he dropped his Cactus League ERA to 11.17 in the process.

“Yeah,” he said when asked if this was the best he’s felt this spring. “You know, I think being able to get in a rhythm, have an actual start and, you know, work through – up, down, up, down, up, down – and get out there and get working. I was really pleased with the way I threw the ball today.”

Catcher Jeff Mathis agreed Bradley did some good things on the mound.

“Think he also mixed it up pretty good. All of his pitches, including that cutter, got the ball off some barrels,” Mathis said.

POLLOCK LEAVES GAME PRECAUTIONARILY

The other big news of the day came when Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock left with mild left groin tightness after rounding the bases a little awkwardly while trying to see where the ball was.

“I think he was very smart,” D-backs’ manager Torey Lovullo pointed out. “He gave us great feedback after he felt just a little twinge and we decided to remove him from the game for precautionary reasons. We’ll re-evaluate him when we get back today, we’ll talk to him tomorrow. I don’t think it’s going to be anything that’s going to linger, but we just wanted to be safe at this point.”

Pollock has been one of the better all-around hitters in baseball over the last few seasons – when healthy. That last part is key though, as he was only able to suit up for 12 games in 2016. The year before, he hit .315, with 20 home runs and 39 stolen bases. And he chipped in another seven home runs and 14 RBI back in 2014, in just 265 at-bats.

BASE HITS

– Pollock led off the game by depositing a 1-2 pitch onto the lawn in left-center for his first home run of the spring.

– Arcia made a nice sliding catch on a liner into right-center off the bat of Gorkys Hernandez to help preserve Bradley’s one-two-three fourth inning.

– Arizona made a total of four errors in the contest.

– The Diamondbacks will get their first day off of the spring on Monday before hosting the Texas Rangers at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. First pitch for that one will be at 1:10 p.m.

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