ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Archie Bradley ‘ready to get going again’ after simulated game

May 11, 2015, 5:51 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm

PHOENIX — The ground ball hit by Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Cliff Pennington quickly shot back up through the middle.

“Am I going to get released,” he quipped, looking in the direction of general manager Dave Stewart, who was standing off to the side.

“Need a screen?” infielder Aaron Hill shouted from the dugout.

Pitcher Archie Bradley paid them all no attention, just as he did Pennington’s grounder with a swift sidestep move to his left.

Facing hitters for the first time since taking a line drive to the face, Bradley threw four 15-pitch innings of a simulated game prior to batting practice ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Washington Nationals.

“It went well,” he said. “Had a couple hit back at me. Obviously, a little scary but didn’t flinch, got right back up there (on the mound). And overall, (I) threw the ball well. Arm felt good. Face felt well and just overall, just ready to get going again.”

In addition to Stewart, Bradley pitched in front of senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson, manager Chip Hale, pitching coach Mike Harkey and head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw.

“I didn’t see him flinch at all,” Hale said. “He just pitched like it was normal with no screen or anything, so it was good.”

The 60-pitch game saw Bradley head back to the dugout for a five-to-seven minute break between innings. He also asked the hitters to treat their at-bats as if it were an actual game.

“If it’s a ball, then I’m sitting there 1-0 and work actual at-bats and counts and trying to get guys out; try to make it as game-like as I could,” Bradley said.

Pennington’s grounder wasn’t the only ball hit back to the mound.

Shortstop Nick Ahmed also batted a ball close to Bradley.

“It was good. You almost kind of want that just to see how you’re going to react, where you’re at mentally after something like that happens. I was fine with it,” Bradley said. “It’s part of the game. Obviously, with what happened I’m a little more cautious of it now, but when I’m up there I’m just worried about pitching and trying to get guys out.”

A black eye is all that visually remains after Bradley was struck in the right cheek by a 115-mph line drive off the bat of Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez on April 28. He landed on the 15-day disabled list the next day with a slight sinus fracture, but escaped with no damage to his orbital bone or jaw.

“Everything feels good,” Bradley said. “Teeth are back to normal; swelling is obviously down, you can see that part. I’m just ready to get back out there and start pitching.”

Bradley will throw a bullpen Wednesday, and then reclaim his spot in the rotation when the D-backs visit Philadelphia. He’s scheduled to start May 16, game two of the three-game weekend series.

“Ever since I found out that was kind of the plan, I’m been watching video and every bullpen and simulated game trying to act like I’m throwing to those guys,” said Bradley, who is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts.

“I feel like I’m as prepared as I can be for this one.”

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