D-backs working through ‘fluid’ pitching situation with short ramp up

Mar 21, 2022, 6:08 PM | Updated: 6:11 pm
RHP Sean Poppen

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SCOTTSDALE — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner will throw three innings or 45 pitches, whichever comes first, on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers.

It will be his first start of spring training as he prepares for Opening Day on April 7.

The D-backs plan to ramp up their starting pitchers to be ready for 80-85 pitches when the season opens, and they’ll have to do so without the benefit of time during this shortened spring training. Mandatory camp began last week.

“We’re looking to get that built up to the point where they can throw 80-85 pitches, and there’s a lot that goes into that equation,” Lovullo said on Monday. “But we want to build them up as much as possible and these early days and these first outings for these guys are really important.”

Lovullo said the expedited spring training also affects how many arms the team needs to build up.

He called their pitching situation fluid in regards to roles and how his team will work through the first section of the season. That may lead to unconventional management of the arsenal early on.

“We’re still trying to figure out how many guys we need to get stretched out, if we’re going to piggyback, if we’re just going to jump into our bullpen,” Lovullo said. “So we’re still sorting through that. We’re just day-by-day trying to figure out where we’re going to get to with a number of people that we’re going to stretch out.”

Lovullo said he is excited by the competition in his camp.

The fifth starter battle is still on, and the D-backs continued to add relievers who will compete for roster spots on Monday.

Arizona signed veteran Óliver Pérez to a minor-league deal and claimed Caleb Baragar off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

General manager Mike Hazen mentioned last week Dan Straily, Humberto Castellanos, Tyler Gilbert, Corbin Martin, Caleb Smith and Taylor Widener as players who could earn the fifth spot in the rotation.

Those who don’t make it would still have a chance to provide depth in the bullpen, as Arizona will need pitchers who can go multiple frames in relief.

“Early in the season, especially, I think the need for innings is going to be necessary for every team,” Hazen told reporters last week. “That may look a little less traditional than in years past.”

Gallen update

Starting pitcher Zac Gallen threw to live batters before Monday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, a 9-1 win for Arizona. He faced Ketel Marte, Carson Kelly and Geraldo Perdomo.

Gallen had an MRI during the offseason and was diagnosed with bursitis — inflammation that caused shoulder stiffness.

Lovullo said before the outing that he wanted to see Gallen execute his pitches and feel strong doing so.

“(Gallen) said he felt really good,” Lovullo said after Monday’s game. “His comment was … ‘I’ve still got work to do,’ so that pleases me.”

“He was in typical Zac form trying to get back into being perfect.”

Peralta’s hot bat

Outfielder David Peralta is off to quite a start. He went 2-for-3 on Saturday with a home run against the Los Angeles Angels, and he kept that up on Monday.

He finished 1-for-3 against Seattle with a three-run home run he belted the opposite way. He flew out to deep left during his first plate appearance and skied a deep fly ball to center in his third at-bat.

“Feels good,” Peralta said after Monday’s game. “I put a lot of hard work in the offseason to get my timing and to get my foot down, and all this hard work is paying off right now.”

Lovullo complimented Peralta’s swing plane during his final fly-out, saying the veteran just missed hitting his third home run in two games.

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