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Luis Gonzalez is excited about the D-backs’ pitching staff

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, left, and Luis Gonzalez talk before a baseball game, Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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With pitchers and catchers reporting to Diamondbacks spring training on Wednesday, expectations are high for a pitching staff that finished third in the MLB in ERA last season.

Senior adviser to the president and CEO of the Diamondbacks Luis Gonzalez is excited about the pitching staff, especially the revamped bullpen, despite heading into spring training without naming a closer.

“It’s good that we have a couple of guys that have done it before,” Gonzalez told The Blitz with B-Train and Jurecki on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “As far as winning the closer job, there are two or three guys that are in contention for it and it will be interesting to see who steps up and takes the bull by the horns.”

In the offseason, the D-backs let go of 40-year-old closer Fernando Rodney and added Brad Boxberger from the Tampa Bay Rays and Yoshihisa Hirano from Japan. Boxberger, Hirano and Archie Bradley are all in contention to claim the closer role for the D-backs in 2018.

“I think spring training has a way of working itself out and guys will figure it out sooner or later who is going to be that guy,” said Gonzalez.

The D-backs’ pitching staff is also hoping to get a few innings out of Shelby Miller, who is expected to return from Tommy John surgery in 2017.

“I think he will be ready to go maybe in the middle of the season,” said Gonzalez. “I doubt he will go right back up to the big leagues. He will probably have to work his way back up a little bit to try to get that endurance back up.”

Nonetheless, all five of the D-backs’ starting pitchers who ended last season return for the start of the 2018 season.

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