D-backs’ Josh Rojas stays hot in spring training tie with White Sox
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Josh Rojas hit safely again in the team’s 4-4 tie against the Chicago White Sox at Salt River Fields on Sunday.
Rojas continues to lead the Cactus League in hits, ranking first among all qualified major leaguers with 17 hits and has now reached base safely in 14 of his last 15 games.
“Even his swings and misses are well-timed,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said via Zoom postgame. “We’re not seeing him get beat by many pitches.
“When you see things like that, the swing fundamentals are well-timed and everything is in the right place and he’s able to make quality adjustments. I’ve seen a lot of really good adjustments, some adaptability in the at-bat and some really good results.”
Rojas was 1-for-4 with a run scored. His single in the fifth inning sparked the stagnant offense and led to the first runs of the game going on the board. He is hitting .340 this spring with a .949 OPS.
Fellow infielder Asdrubal Cabrera stayed hot at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 on Sunday and hitting .526 in his last five games. He also made a great play in the sixth inning at first base to pick off former D-back Adam Eaton on a stolen base attempt.
Diamondback shortstop Nick Ahmed, who has seen limited playing time due to a knee injury, went yard with a two-run homer in the sixth, his first of the year.
“We played really clean baseball until the final three outs and I was very satisfied,” Lovullo said. “We picked up the baseball, we got some really, really good pitching and it was a good game to watch.”
D-backs pitcher Taylor Clarke continues to be stretched out for a starting role and looked solid in his appearance on Sunday.
Clarke worked efficiently, keeping the ball in the strike zone and runners off the base paths. He only allowed a pair of hits in his outing, the most damaging being a triple off the bat of White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn that was a tough play at the wall for right fielder Daulton Varsho.
The 27-year-old righty had four shutout innings of work in his first start of Cactus League play, allowing two hits with two strikeouts and no walks allowed. He threw 32 of his 49 pitches for strikes.
“He got back into counts when he needed to and finished guys off,” Louvllo said. “It was a pretty complete outing by him.”
In 12 games last season, Clarke was 3-0 (1-0 in 5 starts) with a 4.36 ERA and a .217 opponent batting average.
In more from the mound, pitcher Joe Mantiply continues to look impressive in his relief appearances. He struck out two in his inning of work and didn’t allow a hit.
In five games and 5.2 innings of work, the 30-year-old left-hander has allowed three hits, no runs and has struck out eight.
The rest of the bullpen didn’t fare as well in the ninth. Miguel Aguilar and Keury Mella gave up a combined four runs in the top of the inning, which led to the eventual tie.
The D-backs will take on the Oakland A’s on Monday at Hohokam Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
Zac Gallen will make his fifth Cactus League start for Arizona. He currently owns a 2.13 ERA with a 1.263 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched this spring.