Drey Jameson settles down after rocky 1st in penultimate spring start

Mar 23, 2023, 6:10 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2023, 8:47 pm

Drey Jameson #99 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the third inning of the Spring Training...

Drey Jameson #99 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the third inning of the Spring Training game against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 12, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE — Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Drey Jameson rescued his penultimate start of spring training in his quest to be selected by Torey Lovullo as the team’s No. 5 starter.

And while his line of four earned runs on four hits and four walks over 4.1 innings in an 11-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Salt River Fields on Thursday may not wow anybody, the manner in which he conducted himself after a rough first inning could actually bode well for what the D-backs skipper is looking for at the backend of the rotation.

That’s because after surrendering three runs on three hits and a walk in the opening frame, the 25-year-old Jameson settled down and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until he was pulled from the ballgame at 73 pitches (46 strikes) in the top of the fifth. He also struck out a total of seven Dodgers on the day.

“I thought Drey threw the ball well enough,” Lovullo said postgame. “There were some touch-and-go moments where I feel like he had a little trouble making some adjustments but eventually did. He pitched into the fifth inning and got his pitch count right where we wanted it.

“So all-in-all after giving up three runs and then getting very stubborn, those are the things that will stand out but there are some things inside of the first couple of batters, first couple of innings that we need to tighten up.”

If Thursday’s contest was played during the regular season, surely Lovullo would have let the right-hander keep going, as the Diamondbacks scored a whopping 10 runs in the bottom half of the first inning. And after left-handed pitcher Kyle Nelson came in to replace Jameson, the team elected to trade an out for a run — which the D-backs starter was responsible for — with a seven-run lead.

In this hypothetical scenario, Jameson could have easily pitched into the sixth and saved Lovullo from having to use potentially tired bullpen arms earlier than the manager would have liked.

The real Achilles heel of Jameson’s start was the four walks, which all came to the leadoff batter in every inning he pitched except for the fourth.

“That’s something that I have to zone it in a lot faster so I don’t let that base — that’s technically a freebie,” he said postgame. “When you give up so many freebies, you’re prone to lose a game.

“And if it weren’t for those 10 runs in the first inning, it could be a different ballgame, different pressure on the line. But when I make that walk and I throw four balls, it’s important to me to get a groundball and try to get a double play and I think I did that.”

Meanwhile, right-hander Ryne Nelson — who is competing with Jameson for the fifth and final spot in the rotation — also started for the D-backs in an 11-1 split-squad loss to the Chicago Cubs in Mesa on Thursday. The 25-year-old had a fairly similar line of three earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three over 4.2 innings.

And with Opening Day on March 30 in Los Angeles for the Diamondbacks, Lovullo has to decide who will be taking the bump for the fifth game of the season in San Diego on April 3. The skipper said pregame that the No. 5 starter will likely come down to the final day of cuts when the active roster can only hold 26 players.


– 2B Ketel Marte was scratched due to an illness.

– OF Jake McCarthy (illness) told Lovullo he’ll be good to play Friday.

– There is still no timeline on C Carson Kelly (forearm fracture), but Lovullo said it’s a clean break so he’ll be out for several weeks.

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