D-backs’ Drey Jameson ‘doesn’t give a (expletive)’ about not starting, only wants to win

Mar 27, 2023, 8:00 PM

Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Drey Jameson speaks to reporters prior to a spring traini...

Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Drey Jameson speaks to reporters prior to a spring training game against the Cleveland Guardians at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., on March 27, 2023. (Jake Anderson/Arizona Sports)

(Jake Anderson/Arizona Sports)

PHOENIX — Competition between teammates can sometimes bring out the worst in individuals, but that’s not the case for Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitchers Drey Jameson and Ryne Nelson.

After being selected No. 34 and No. 56 overall, respectively, in the 2019 MLB Draft, the duo were roommates throughout their minor league careers and found themselves directly competing against each other this spring for the fifth and final spot in the D-backs’ starting rotation.

“It’s really no different than what we’ve been doing the last four years,” Nelson said Monday. “We got drafted together, played every level together. It’s just kind of how it’s been.

“We always knew at some point we were going to be fighting each other and remained through the whole thing. We’re always going to be friends. Stuff like that doesn’t get in the way of it. If anything, it makes us get better.”

And when manager Torey Lovullo had to deliver the news that Nelson won the pitching battle, Jameson revealed the type of character he has as both a teammate and competitor.

“They were great,” Lovullo said with a grin. “Drey was typical Drey. He said, ‘I don’t give a (expletive). I just want to win baseball games.’

“That to me defines exactly who he is. He knows he’s going to help us win baseball games other than starting every fifth day.”

Jameson said Monday that while it will be the first time in his entire career that he’ll be coming out of the bullpen, he’s been told by Lovullo and general manager Mike Hazen that he will be the team’s long reliever and he will continue to be stretched out.

The 25-year-old right-hander also has a very positive attitude and outlook on everything, reiterating how much of an accomplishment it was to make the Opening Day roster despite losing out on a starting role to his buddy, Nelson.

“It’s fun. I enjoyed it,” Jameson said of the competition. “But also he got me. He produced a little better than me.

“I look at it as this year or the following year, we could be 2-3-4-5 in the starting roles. I don’t look at it in any negative ways. I’m proud of him and I think he feels the same for me.”

Fortunately for the two pitchers and Lovullo, there is a very good possibility that both will wind up in the starting rotation by 2025 either via performance, injuries or contractually.

That’s because both Madison Bumgarner and Zach Davies will be unrestricted free agents following the conclusion of the 2024 season, with Davies having a mutual option for 2024 and No. 2 starter Merrill Kelly having a club option for 2025. Bumgarner will also be 35 years old when his contract expires, while Kelly is 10 months older than the lefty.

“Absolutely, I think that’s where we should focus on,” Nelson said of the duo being future starters in the D-backs rotation.

“Both of us getting better individually and keep working to make this team as good as we can.”

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