Chafin, Hazelbaker make team as Arizona Diamondbacks finalize roster
PHOENIX – After their final tune-up of the spring, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced their final 25-man roster.
Making the team were reliever Andrew Chafin and outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker.
Chafin beat out right-hander Silvino Bracho, who was optioned to Triple-A Reno, for the final bullpen spot.
“It was a very tough decision,” manager Torey Lovullo said, following the D-backs’ 9-4 exhibition loss to the Cleveland Indians at Chase Field. “We like the idea of having a second lefty in the bullpen (along with Jorge De La Rosa).”
Chafin struggled at times, as evident by his 6.10 ERA (7 ER in 10.1 IP) over 11 Cactus League appearances, but “inside each appearance the fastball command and velocity was coming back. The secondary pitches were starting to show a little bit more consistency,” according to Lovullo.
Bracho, meanwhile, made five straight scoreless appearances, sandwiched around his participation with Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, before allowing two runs in one-third of an inning against the Indians on Thursday.
“We wanted to let that one play out for as long as possible, and we had discussions all the way up until today,” Lovullo said. “We had some really good internal discussions and that was the final decision that was made as a group.”
Hazelbaker, claimed off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals on Nov. 4, can play all three outfield positions, giving Lovullo even more options to play with.
“We like the coverage in the outfield. We like the versatility of all those guys,” Lovullo said, adding Chris Herrmann and Chris Owings to the mix. “We feel very comfortable being able to move a lot of different parts and play a National League game, when the need arises.”
Owings, though, “will get most of the time at shortstop” according to Lovullo. That does not mean Nick Ahmed is a backup, however.
“A backup, in my opinion,” Lovullo said, “is somebody (who) is there in case and Nick Ahmed is going to get a number of starts as is C.O. at shortstop.”
The 25-man roster includes 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
Lovullo had hoped to have his team in place before these last two exhibition games.
“The final roster has taken a little while for us to drill down to because of how these guys have gone out and really performed and made this decision hard on a group of people that were set out to evaluate them. In certain cases we wanted to let that process play out for as long as it possibly could have,” he said. “I personally want to just say thanks to the guys. I want to acknowledge their hard work and their patience.”
— Facing the Indians for the second time in as many starts, left-hander Robbie Ray allowed a pair of home runs over four innings. Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and catcher Yan Gomes each hit solo shots in a two-run second inning.
Overall, Ray was charged with three runs on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches, 43 for strikes including 8-of-17 first-pitch strikes.
Ray went 3-1 with a 5.11 ERA in seven Cactus League starts.
— After recording just one hit in 23 at-bats over nine games, left fielder Yasmany Tomas had two in his first two at-bats, including an RBI double that plated the D-backs’ first run. He finished 2-for-3, raising his batting average to .115.
Tomas was slowed this spring by an oblique strain that sidelined him nearly three weeks.
In addition to Tomas, right fielder David Peralta recorded a pair of hits. He also drove in a run, as did shortstop Nick Ahmed and third baseman Jake Lamb; all contributed in a three-run fifth inning that put the D-backs ahead, 4-3.
— The D-backs had won two straight before losing to the Indians, splitting the two-game exhibition set, in front of an announced crowd of 11,879.
With the defeat, the D-backs dropped to 15-15-2 in this, their 20th Cactus League season.
— The D-backs will hold a full-squad workout at Chase Field on Saturday, the day before the season opener against the San Francisco Giants. The workout, which is closed to the public, will include a simulated game with right-hander Shelby Miller scheduled to throw.
Miller is slotted fifth in the rotation, so his first regular-season start is against the Indians on April 7.