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D-backs’ Zack Godley finding positives in rough first spring training outing

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

MESA, Ariz. — With the departure of Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Godley is next in line to pick up the slack in the team’s rotation.

And although the pitcher’s first spring training outing against the Cubs was one to forget, Godley’s not hanging his head on the negatives from Tuesday’s start.

“Felt really good, [when it’s the] first outing in spring there’s certain things you gotta work through and figure out,” Godley said after exiting the game at Sloan Park. “Overall my fastball command was decent but that’s something that has to (be) worked on for sure. I had really good movement on my changeup and my curveball today and that’s a positive I can take away from this.

“Other than that there’s nothing really you can do about that other than just keep trying to throw strikes and when it’s the first outing of spring they’re not gonna have you throw that many pitches in the first inning.”

Opening the first inning with a leadoff double — courtesy of Albert Almora Jr. — the Cubs had Godley on the ropes early. Two batters later, Almora crossed home plate for the first run of the game.

Chicago would continue to pour it on, with the help of a wild pitch by Godley and a throwing error at first base, as the Cubs added two more runs off of the pitcher to make it 3-0.

“He was very erratic, he didn’t have a good feel for a couple of pitches that are consistently there for him, which I know early in the spring that happens,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Godley. “I think he was very frustrated. I think he couldn’t get into a rhythm, I know that there was a play that wasn’t made behind him I think that really threw him out of wack.

“And that was something I discussed with him. We’re a complete team, when somebody makes a mistake you’re going to pick one another up and you can’t let it distract you. It looked like a total distraction after that.”

In just 0.1 innings pitched, Godley gave up four runs (three earned) on two hits. He also walked three batters.

Last season, Godley proved to be an important piece to the D-backs rotation. Especially in April and June.

In his 10 starts between the two months, Godley compiled an 8-2 record, including four straight wins in June.

His record outside of that didn’t fare too well, however, as Godley finished the season 15-11, going 7-9 in the his other 16 starts.

For Godley, that’s the main focus of his during spring training.

“Overall just consistency,” the pitcher said when asked about what he’s working on to get ready for the regular season. “As far as pitches are concerned, just trying to develop all of my pitches and get a feel for them each outing.

“Just continue to be able to throw strikes with all of them and just continue to work through all of that.”

Wilmer Flores proving his worth early on

Spring training games don’t count towards the regular-season record, but Arizona is getting what they asked for out of second baseman Wilmer Flores.

While the D-backs’ defense gave up the runs Tuesday afternoon, Arizona’s offense stepped up to the plate, and it was mostly Flores.

After a throwing error by Kris Bryant kept the inning alive and down 4-1 in the second after a Socrates Brito sac fly, Flores entered the batter’s box with the bases loaded.

He wasted little time, hitting a double to bring in the three runners on base and making it a 4-4 tie after looking at a 4-0 deficit entering the second.

“First of all, I’m happy to be healthy, that’s the main thing right now,” Flores said after the game. “I don’t come to spring training just to get my time in or anything [like that], anytime I’m playing I just want to get my swing ready and play [these spring training games] like real games.”

Flores wasn’t done contributing in the inning, however, as he gave Arizona the lead after reaching home plate off of a Christian Walker single.

That would be all the runs the D-backs needed as they took the 5-4 win over the Cubs.

He finished the day, going 1-for-2 with a walk, a double and three RBI. He also scored a run.

“We want to have tough at-bats when it calls for tough at-bats and he is definitely that type of hitter that we’re looking to get up there in crucial situations and grind things down,” Lovullo said of the second baseman. “He’s not going to give away anything, that’s his DNA, that’s who he is.”

After spending his entire career with the New York Mets organization, including six seasons in the majors, Flores came over to the D-backs this offseason in free agency as the team looked to fill the voids left behind from Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock.

Flores is a career .262 hitter over his six years in the majors. He has hit at least 15 home runs and drove in 50 runs or more in three of his last four seasons.

Although Arizona marks the second organization of his career, Flores is already comfortable in the desert. And it shows.

Through two spring training games, Flores has three hits, three runs and four RBI in four at-bats.

“I’m feeling great, I always have my comfort level on the field always high so there’s no reason for my confidence down,” Flores said.

After their win over the Cubs, Flores and the D-backs travel to Peoria to take on the Padres on Wednesday.


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