Rubby De La Rosa is trying something new every day in Spring Training. Allen Webster is hammering down his fundamentals.
The two former Red Sox pitchers, acquired by the Diamondbacks in December for Wade Miley, are taking different approaches to work their way into a starting rotation that’s packed with young, talented arms.
“We’re working hard at everything,” De La Rosa said. “Right now it’s good. The coaches talk about everything, about every situation, how to pitch.”
For Webster, it’s more about the basics.
“I’ve just been repeating my routine,” Webster said. “Trying to throw strikes more often, mainly working on my mechanics.”
Manager Chip Hale is optimistic based on what he’s seen from both this spring.
“De La Rosa is very professional about the way he prepares,” Hale said. “His stuff, when he lets it go, is tremendous. And Webster just keeps getting better and better. We’re seeing some real special stuff out of his arm.”
Webster and De La Rosa may only be 25 years old but their big league experience stretches back to their time with the Red Sox. They combined for 160.2 innings pitched last season.
Webster had a 5-3 record as a starter after he was called up in July. His final outing of the season was the finest of his career when he recorded a win with seven innings of one-run ball.
De La Rosa was called up nearly a month earlier and immediately warranted workhorse duty. He topped 100 pitches five times in his first seven starts and owned a sparkling 2.64 ERA. He continued to get starts but suffered a midseason decline and finished with a 4-8 record.
Prior to last year, neither had ever carried a work load comparable to the one they took on in 2014. The D-backs are hoping they’ve bought in on two stars ready to emerge.
Although he’s been sidelined with post-surgery rehab, veteran relief pitcher Brad Ziegler is impressed by the two youngsters.
“These guys are power arms,” Ziegler said. “That depth is going to be important to us over the course of a season.”
Their work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“You see a desire to work,” Ziegler said. “You see a desire to get better, a desire to prove that they’re ready to be in the big leagues for a full season and help this team win.”
Trey Lanthier is a senior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between Arizona Sports 98.7 and Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.