D-backs No. 5 starter contenders showing flashes, growing pains, Lovullo says

Mar 12, 2023, 10:00 AM
Brandon Pfaadt #90 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati R...
Brandon Pfaadt #90 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 10, 2023 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

It’s no accident that Tommy Henry, Drey Jameson, Brandon Pfaadt and Ryne Nelson have been four of the five Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers to start multiple games at the halfway mark of spring training.

Manager Torey Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday that no decisions have been made regarding the final spot in the starting rotation, perhaps the most hotly contested camp battle this year.

Lovullo said each competitor has had up and down moments this spring. The winner is not necessarily whomever finishes camp with the best numbers.

“I think at different points of time, they’ve all done it where I’ve just walked away shaking my head,” Lovullo said. It’s a 3-2 slider from Drey Jameson that is unexpected and is a wipeout swing and miss. It’s Ryne Nelson with a high fastball he’s throwing by somebody. It’s Brandon Pfaadt with a two-pitch combination. It’s four pristine innings from Tommy Henry in his last outing.

“I think they’ve all had great moments, they’ve all had learning moments. We still haven’t made a decision as to which direction we’re going to go in. We just know we have some really good young pitchers in this camp.”

Henry had a big outing on Wednesday against the Texas Rangers in which he tossed four scoreless frames with three hits and three strikeouts. Pfaadt did not allow a run over his first two outings, nor did Jameson.

Lovullo said it has been years since the D-backs had this type of competition amongst young starters vying for a role. The D-backs had nine pitchers start at least four games last year with a mostly healthy rotation, so Arizona could count on all four young arms at some point.

“When and how and whom, we haven’t quite figured out yet,” Lovullo said.

Jameson will start Sunday against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields, looking to rebound from allowing three runs in 2.2 innings last week.

Henry will throw on Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.

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