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Snake Bytes, 3/16: "We just whipped the Cubs' ass"

I've always wanted to use that headline. :) #DropsStunner #LeavesRing

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Team news

[AZ Central] Walker allows 1st runs of spring - "Two sliders that I just hung instead of finishing it," Walker said of the homers. He said he was otherwise pleased with the pitch, which he used to strike out C Miguel Montero in the fourth. He said he was able to make adjustments in his delivery to get himself back on track relatively quickly. "Now I know when I’m getting disconnected," he said. "I know when I’m leaking and I knew when my front side is too low. I can actually feel it now and make that adjustment."

[Arizona Sports] Newcomers and Minor-Leaguers lead D-backs in win over Cubs - Another run would have come around to score in the 8th, but catcher Josh Thole appeared to injure his hamstring on the basepaths while avoiding a line drive between first and second. A force out was made at second while Thole attempted to crawl to safety, and he was subsequently helped off the field by a coach and a trainer, careful to put much weight on his left leg.

[] D-backs' rotation competition still wide open - As it stands now, the order would appear to be Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin. Right-hander Archie Bradley is still in the mix, and Lovullo said there are even more than that. "A few guys may have solidified their spots more than others, but it's still open," Lovullo said. "It's all wide open. I'm not saying that there are just six guys who are competing. There are more than six guys competing every day. I don't want to put a tag on that yet, but they're all still competing."

[Fanrag] Diamondbacks look to fill Jean Segura’s void heading into 2017 - Utility player Chris Owings believes that the responsibility that comes with replacing Segura won’t fall on any one player, but rather, the team’s collection of middle infielders. "I really haven’t thought about (Segura’s absence) like that," Owings said. "(Brandon Drury) is looking really good this spring, Nick (Ahmed) is swinging the bat well, (Ketel) Marte’s swinging the bat well, so I think we have a lot of good players on this team, we have a good line-up one through eight so, just put the best guys in there every day and just go out there and compete."

[AZ Central] Herrmannator? Diamondbacks' Chris Herrmann shows versatility - "I’m definitely playing a lot of first this spring. I’ve played it some in the past when I was younger and stuff, so I get the idea of how to play there. But there’s all kinds of things that come into play, like cutoffs and relays and positioning yourself for lefties or righties. I think in the long run I would definitely just like to concentrate on catching, because I’m a catcher at heart. I’ve been doing that my entire life. Right now, this is what’s getting me a job, is being versatile. And that’s good. It’s helped me out and got me a lot of playing time last year. It got my bat in the lineup and that’s all that really matters right now."

[Arizona Sports] Bradley faces a make-or-break year - His most recent outing was a positive sign for D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, who on Tuesday joined the Burns and Gambo show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "In Archie’s case, we didn’t evaluate the runs that he gave up or the unearned runs or really even the play that he didn’t make that led to a couple extra pitches and some runs," Lovullo said. "We evaluated the stuff, which was very crisp. It was probably his best outing from where I was sitting. He was commanding all pitches in all areas of the zone — he was finishing off hitters."

[] To expand versatilty, Owings plays RF for first time - Chris Owings played the outfield for the first time Tuesday, coming in as a replacement for David Peralta in right field and catching the one ball that was hit his way. Tuesday marked the first time he had ever played right field. "It's going to be a little different getting used to some balls coming off righties' bats that are going to tail a little bit," Owings said after Arizona's 12-0 victory over Texas. "Other than that, I feel like I'm doing good out there and I think I'm going to start playing out there a little more consistently. It was a good start today and just try to get more comfortable out there."

[] 92-year-old Phoenix grandma takes on D-backs pitcher in March Madness - Spring training is in full swing and Arizona Diamondbacks top pitching prospect Braden Shipley is determined to make the team. He also wants to prove he knows more about college basketball than his teammates. But this year, the competition for March Madness bragging rights goes beyond Salt River Fields, with Shipley facing his biggest challenge yet. The D-backs rising star is going head-to-head against 92-year-old Gloria Laynor, a Phoenix grandmother who doesn't exactly watch a lot of college hoops. "I play bridge and I play Mahjong, and I like to read," said Laynor.

And, elsewhere...

[USA Today] USA slugs two homers in 8th inning, stuns Venezuela in World Baseball Classic - Adam Jones, the hometown kid from Morse High School in San Diego, who squandered Team USA’s greatest scoring chance early in the game, wound up getting sweet redemption. Jones, on a 96-mph fastball, hit a leadoff homer in the eighth inning off Hector Rondon to tie the game at 2-apiece, and his teammates took over from there. Three batters later, Eric Hosmer homered over the right-center-field fence on the first pitch he saw, a 418-foot blast, and USA got a critical comeback victory.

[ESPN] Baseball in Italy catches a Latin American flair - Estimates place the number of Venezuelans with Italian blood at just over 1.5 million, and the nation's total population is just over 30 million. Despite an initial group immigrating in the 19th century, the presence of Italians in Venezuela became much more noticeable after World War II. That diaspora was poised to grow in the South American nation when President Marcos Perez Jimenez issued a decree in 1955 facilitating European immigration to Venezuela.

[Miami Herald] Baseball agent and trainer found guilty of smuggling Cuban ballplayers - Baseball agent Bart Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada were found guilty Wednesday of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the United States in a fraudulent scheme designed to capitalize on the defectors’ major league contracts. Hernandez was convicted of conspiring with Estrada and others to deceive the U.S.government into granting visas and other documents to two dozen Cuban ballplayers – including Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria – so they could sign with Major League Baseball teams. The conspiracy offense carries up to five years in prison.

[] Mets' Tim Tebow had his best day in baseball. Why didn't he want to talk about it? - Tim Tebow is looking more and more like a baseball player every day. He's just not always acting like one. Playing in his third straight major league spring training game, Tebow went 2-for-3 with a great sliding catch in right field in the Mets' 6-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday at Roger Dean Stadium. It was by far his best game as a baseball player. But after he was removed from the game, the Mets announced that yet again, Tebow wouldn't be made available for postgame media. That would have made it three days in a row.