That includes the players’
Perhaps the most important
variable which players and staff generate is to process a shortened baseball
season. Until this truncated experience, teams had the luxury of slipping past
a game or two, or even a few. In the course of 162 games, there was always the
possibility to recover and, if a club became hot, that movement could mean a heightened
Now, that all changed, and the
reality of a short, 60-game schedule hit players like a runaway freight train.
No longer is there the luxury of wading out a few games and rely on recovery.
Now, each game assumes great importance and teams do not have the comfort of
“There is an intense scene now
on every pitch,” said closer Archie Bradley, who will be 28 years-old on Aug. 10.
“Once we begin, I don’t think anybody has room to experiment or make significant
adjustments. For me, I’ll rely on past experience.”
Bradley enters the 2020 season
as an important piece of the Diamondbacks quest for success. Anointed as the
closer and leader of the back end of the bullpen, Bradley picked up 18 saves a
year ago and recorded a 3.52 ERA. Over the course of five major league seasons,
he recorded 402 strikeouts in 393.2 innings of work and that’s better than one
K per inning.
“We’re excited to get back and
for me, I missed of the guys and being around everyone every day,” he added. “At
the same time, we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing.”
In Bradley’s case, and his
admission “I’m taking things more seriously,” that had a direct impact. His
dad, Charlie, mom Pam and brother Alex, all contracted COVID-19. His dad was
the most serious and required a 10-day hospitalization.
“Now, I’m following the guidelines
as close as I can,” he said. “We will do as we are told.”
More on health protocols …
When workouts began last Friday
in Chase Field, the roof was on, but outfield panels were open. The air conditioning
was off and that was for a reason. The Diamondbacks wanted to test ventilation throughout
the building and that’s under the belief that the greater the air circulation,
the less a chance the virus can travel.
As with everything else in the
pandemic, this roof protocol is not etched in stone and subject to further analysis
Let the games begin …
As workouts begin, the Diamondbacks divided their squad between
Chase Field and Salt River, the team’s spring training facility. After workouts each day, a designated number of players will
be bussed from Salt River to Chase for inter-squad games. At this point, general
manager Mike Hazen hopes to schedule two or three exhibition games with other
major league teams, but that remains uncertain.
Because of intense, desert heat, workouts at Salt River are
confined to the morning hours and will likely conclude before noon. The organization’s
games in Chase Field could start around 6 p.m., Hazen said.
On the diamond …
Of the 60-players in camp, Hazen reported that right-handed
pitcher Jon Duplantier is currently the only one held out of immediate workouts.
In early April, Duplantier developed discomfort in his right elbow and had an
MRI. At this point, he has recovered, and Hazen expects the 25-year-old native
of Newark, Del. to make a competitive push for the last spot in the rotation. That was effectively vacated last week when right-hander Mike Leake decided to sit out the
Last season, Duplantier, along with Arizona right-hander
Merrill Kelly, etched their names in the baseball history books. Against the
Padres in San Diego on April 1, Kelly picked up the victory in a 10-3 win and
Duplantier recorded the save. In this game, each made their major league debut,
and marked the first time in the history of the game that a pitcher, in his
initial major league appearance, gained a victory and a pitcher, also in his
initial major league appearance, picked up a save in the same game.