Brad Ziegler: Familiarity a good thing with the Diamondbacks

Jul 31, 2018, 2:55 PM | Updated: 6:23 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Ziegler throws a pitch to Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story i...
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Ziegler throws a pitch to Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story in the eighth inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 23, 2016, in Denver. The Diamondbacks won 7-6. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Arizona Diamondbacks added a familiar face prior to the MLB trade deadline on Tuesday.

Rejoining the D-backs’ roster is former closer Brad Ziegler, who spent the last two seasons with the Miami Marlins.

And while the rumors swirled around the league, Ziegler was left in the dark.

“I knew there were quite a few teams looking for a random bullpen arm, I didn’t know whose budget I fit into, who was willing to give up a prospect that the Marlins wanted to get a deal done,” Ziegler told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station after the trade went official. “Arizona had definitely been mentioned, but the Marlins didn’t have a lot of communication with me at the time, I had no idea who was serious and who was not.”

In 2018, Ziegler is 1-5 with a 3.98 ERA. He’s pitched 52.0 innings (53 games) and has 10 saves on the season to go along with 37 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP.

He struggled a bit during the first half of the season, posting an ERA of 8.71 in the month of May, but really turned things on in July. In his last 28 appearances, Ziegler has a 0.64 ERA with opponents hitting .157.

The biggest difference? Health.

“For the last 14-15 months, I had been dealing with a little bit of a back injury and finally found a treatment plan that was working to take that pain away. I’ve felt basically pain free for the last two months,” the pitcher said. “When I get out on the mound, I’m not compensating for it, I’m not having to worry about ‘is this going to hurt when I throw this pitch,’ it’s just a matter of going out and being able to focus on executing a pitch.

“The Marlins used me in a really good role the last couple months. Played a little more matchups instead of just throwing me out there and saying ‘you got the ninth inning.’ They were able to handpick me in high-leverage situations and that’s helped a lot. And when Torey [Lovullo] called me today that’s how he said I’m going to keep being used.”

Ziegler joins a D-backs team whose bullpen has struggled as of late. In their most recent home loss to the Texas Rangers, the bullpen combined for five runs over 3.2 innings.

“I’ve had Brad Ziegler, I’ve been with him in the same clubhouse, I know the personality, I know the guy and he’s a tremendous leader,” Torey Lovullo said of the pitcher. We’re going to count on that and I don’t want that to change.

“But when he gets the ball I’m going to try to put him in the best situation possible for him to be successful. That’s really my ultimate goal every single night.”

The 38-year-old also rejoins a team where his named is etched in the record books.

He has the most consecutive saves for the franchise with 43 and leads all D-backs pitchers with 348 games played. Second place is 274.

In addition, Ziegler was one of two relievers named to the 20th Anniversary Team, something that is special to the pitcher.

“I’m grateful to be recognized by the fans and to understand that I’ve been gone for a couple years they didn’t forget the contributions that I made there,” Ziegler said of the honor. “It’s neat that a lot of the current guys are guys that I played with when I was there a few years ago are on the team as well and we can share that honor together.”

According to Ziegler, the plan is for him to join the team on Thursday.

In addition, the D-backs also acquired reliever Jake Diekman from the Texas Rangers.

“I can’t say enough about what our front office did, they addressed a lot of needs that we talked about and kind of put it in the right position for us,” Lovullo said of the recent moves. “I feel like the race car is ready, it’s in the slot, we have to go out and perform now.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte, left, congratulates Christian Walker, right, who crosses home pl...
Associated Press

D-backs’ Christian Walker drives in 4 runs in win over Rockies

Christian Walker had four hits and drove in four runs, leading rookie Tommy Henry and the D-backs over the Rockies 7-4 Sunday.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks batter Jake McCarthy, left, congratulates Daulton Varsho (12) after Varsho's i...
Associated Press

Diamondbacks match last season’s win total with shutout victory over Rockies

The Diamondbacks notched win No. 52 Saturday night, matching last year's win total with more than a month remaining on the season.
3 days ago
Emmanuel Rivera #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after hitting a third inning solo home r...
Sam Graveline

D-backs’ Emmanuel Rivera hits 2 home runs in win over Colorado

Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Emmanuel Rivera is fitting right in with his new team, blasting two early home runs on Saturday.
3 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Chris Devenski works against the Colorado Rockies in the sixth ...
Associated Press

Arizona Diamondbacks drop series opener in Colorado to Rockies

The Arizona Diamondbacks only managed five hits in a loss on the road against the Colorado Rockies.
4 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Sergio Alcantara (43) and Geraldo Perdomo, middle, celebrate after scoring ag...
Kellan Olson

Diamondbacks rally to beat Pirates, make up for odd defensive blunder

The Arizona Diamondbacks' seven runs in the seventh inning picked up starter Merrill Kelly after he was positioned for an undeserved loss.
5 days ago
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn warms up in the outfield before a baseball game against the Ne...
Associated Press

‘Field of Dreams’ game Thursday sees Cubs, Reds clash

“Field of Dreams” gets another tribute when the Cincinnati Reds take on the Chicago Cubs in a throwback ballpark in the cornfields of Iowa.
6 days ago
Brad Ziegler: Familiarity a good thing with the Diamondbacks