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Communication, familiarity key factors in Tyler Clippard’s return to D-backs

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Tyler Clippard delivers pitch to Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado in the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 23, 2016, in Denver. The Diamondbacks won 7-6. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A week before signing a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, reliever Tyler Clippard got a call from manager Torey Lovullo.

The conversation between Clippard and Lovullo was overarching, as the D-backs skipper gave Clippard the rundown of how the organization has changed since 2016.

“He was trying to give me the landscape of the organization as it stands today,” Clippard said while meeting with reporters via Zoom for the first time on Friday. “I was here five years ago and a new regime stands here and he was just explaining to me their approach to health and how they take care of their guys.”

“He didn’t need to do that and that really set the tone for the feelings of acceptance and them wanting me to be there and I think ultimately that goes a long way,” Clippard added.

Clippard and the D-backs came to terms on a one-year contract that includes a mutual option in 2022, bringing the two-time All-Star back to the Valley after five years. The reliever previously spent time with the D-backs in 2016 and said familiarity with the organization made coming back ideal.

Clippard appeared in 40 games for the D-backs that year before being dealt to the New York Yankees. The reliever posted a 4.30 ERA to go along with 46 strikeouts as a member of the D-backs (37.2 innings pitched).

Before his recent deal with Arizona, Clippard spent last season with the Minnesota Twins. He went 2-1, with a 2.77 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched.

“There’s a lot of familiar faces with the medical staff, in the clubhouse and the guys like that,” Clippard said of the D-backs organization. “It was nice to have that familiarity with that side of things.”

Above all else, Clippard is excited about playing for a manager who is as upfront with communication.

“When you’re talking about being a reliever and being a bullpen guy, having an idea of when you’re going to pitch is obviously better than not having an idea,” Clippard said. “That comes with communication and that was a big thing when I was talking to Torey. He is very much a communicator with all of his players and that excited me.”

The 2021 season will be Clippard’s 15th year in the big leagues, and he’s focused on helping the D-backs bounce back from 2020.

“It’s a good situation for me,” Clippard said. “I think I can do a lot of different things to help his club win. That’s what ultimately got me here.”


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