ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs eager to get season into full swing after strong spring

Mar 28, 2023, 8:07 PM

D-backs P Ryne Nelson (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)...

D-backs P Ryne Nelson (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

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

PHOENIX — The final day of spring training, where you can almost taste the regular season.

Almost.

In the last tune-up before regular season play gets underway, the D-backs ended their exhibition slate on a high note behind a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians.

Receiving one last starting nod this spring was Ryne Nelson. The fifth starter in the rotation looked comfortable in Tuesday’s showing, allowing four hits and one earned run across 5.2 innings pitched. He also struck out five and did not register a walk.

“I felt like I kind of put everything together, everything I’ve been working on,” Nelson said after his start. “Executing pitches and just getting through the lineup a couple times just felt like it all came together today.”

For manager Torey Lovullo, the final spring game gave him an added opportunity to experiment with a few positional changes, such as sticking Lourdes Gurriel at first base in the back half of the game.

It marked a solid bookend on what was an impressive month of work in Lovullo’s eyes.

“It was a successful spring for a lot of reasons, because we were able to get our concepts down on these guys,” the skipper said postgame. “We were able to talk about what it means to play D-backs style of baseball. We’re ready to go. We’re as ready as we possibly can be.

“Really proud of these guys. They did everything I asked all spring training long. They challenged us by asking great questions. We did things in a very uncommon way. We just went after it and never let up.”

Of those who took the biggest step forward this spring, Lovullo was quick to acknowledge the work third baseman Josh Rojas put in defensively after lacking trust in that department last year. He’s more than earned his role on the team, said Lovullo.

Now, it’s onto Los Angeles for a season-opening series against the NL-rival Dodgers.

And you better believe the rest of the clubhouse is champing at the bit to get the regular season rolling.

“I’m excited, I think the whole clubhouse is excited,” Nelson said. “I think we’re going to do what we can and always try to keep getting better and I think there’s a good feeling in the clubhouse.

“It’s go-time,” he added. “Here we go, it’s time to play some games, not just exhibitions.”

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