Arizona Diamondbacks’ La Russa discusses possibility of sending Archie Bradley to minor leagues
The way Archie Bradley began the 2015 season could not have been much better.
The 22-year-old right-hander, once one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, allowed just three runs in his first three starts, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers combining for seven hits, 11 walks and 12 strikeouts in 18.2 innings.
Bradley’s fourth start did not go as well, as he was drilled in the face by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez and head to leave after just 1.1 innings.
Placed on the 15-day Disabled List with a sinus fracture, his recovery and subsequent return to the field was much talked about and highly anticipated.
Since coming back, though, he has not been the same pitcher. Bradley has started three games — losing two of them — giving up 14 runs on 19 hits with eight walks and eight strikeouts in 10.2 innings.
He’s failed to get through the fourth inning in two of the outings, including his most recent effort Tuesday night in St. Louis against the Cardinals. In that game, he lasted just 3.2 innings while allowing a season-high six earned runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three.
A guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa was asked if there might be some benefit to sending Bradley to the minor leagues to regain some confidence given that he looks like a completely different pitcher now than he was before landing on the DL.
“We are having those discussions; everything you said, the way you set that question up is correct,” he said. “What Archie did to earn a spot in the rotation, what he did in those first appearances showed you that he is a top-of-the-rotation starter and is going to be a cornerstone of our contending, championship years.”
La Russa pointed out that Bradley’s injury was a bad break, and that he, “took it like a man,” but believes the pitcher’s struggles now can be more attributed to rust than any residual effect from the line drive.
“I think the question is is he better off getting down there with less of the pressure of a big league start and just getting his work in, or should he get another assignment or two,” he said. “So we’re having those discussions. I will actually, later today, I’m going to call (D-backs pitching consultant) Dave Duncan because I treasure his advice so much.”
La Russa reiterated that the discussion, which includes manager Chip Hale, GM Dave Stewart, pitching coach Mike Harkey and bullpen coach Mel Stottleymyre, Jr. is ongoing, but the key is figuring out what exactly the problem is.
“You watch that game yesterday, I do not think his approach to getting those hitters out was as good as it could have been and I know he didn’t make the pitches that he wanted to,” the CBO said. “So I think there’s a question about whether if his approach is different would he be successful versus just giving him the work.
“But he’s going to be fine, sooner or later. We hope sooner.”
La Russa went on to add that while Bradley has earned the organization’s trust and they may talk to him about his opinion on the matter, the ultimate decision on what to do will rest with the coaching staff and front office.