Diamondbacks’ Slade Cecconi continues early run of strong spring training starts

Feb 25, 2024, 6:20 PM | Updated: 6:34 pm

Slade Cecconi...

Slade Cecconi of the Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training at Salt River Fields. (Arizona Sports Photo/Alex Weiner)

(Arizona Sports Photo/Alex Weiner)

The Diamondbacks started three contenders for the fifth spot in the starting rotation to open Cactus League play, and the trio each gave Arizona scoreless outings.

Slade Cecconi had that distinction Sunday at Salt River Fields against the Chicago White Sox, tossing two shutout frames with four punch outs in a 5-0 win. The right-hander threw 30 pitches with 18 strikes, walking one batter with no hits allowed.

He struck out the side in the first inning, finishing off Rafael Ortega and Andrew Vaughn with curveballs below the zone. Cecconi walked Gavin Sheets on four pitches to open the second inning, but he rebounded with a strikeout of veteran Paul DeJong.

A difference in Cecconi’s arsenal was the speed of his secondary stuff, as his slider ticked up 2.2 mph to 85.2 mph. The curveball was up 1.8 mph. Neither pitch was put into play with four whiffs on four swings.

Cecconi made the big leagues last season, starting four games and making seven appearances with a 4.33 ERA in 27 innings. Six of his 13 earned runs came in one inning against the Baltimore Orioles.

Tommy Henry and Ryne Nelson threw two scoreless innings with eight combined strikeouts for the D-backs during their opening two spring training games as the front office and coaching staff evaluates the best fit for the rotation. Blake Walston’s turn is Monday against the Oakland Athletics at Hohokam Stadium.

The D-backs nearly had their first ever spring training no-hitter on Sunday, taking it seemingly into the ninth inning.

Humberto Castellanos and Luke Albright also threw two scoreless frames each. An Oscar Colas single off of Francisco Morales ended the bid with one out in the final frame, although an eight-inning error was corrected to a single for Chicago’s Bryan Ramos.

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