[D’backs.com] D-backs remain cautious with Greinke - Although it appears that Zack Greinke is going to be ready for the regular season, Torey Lovullo has stopped short of saying that he will be the starting pitcher on Opening Day. The groin issue was not determined to be serious, but it forced him to cut his last outing short. That puts him behind schedule in building up his pitch count for the regular season.
“To go from 19 pitches back up to 60 or 70 is probably not feasible,” Lovullo said. “If we get through the bullpen, we’ll pick a good number that’s comfortable for him. Step one is to get him through tomorrow and see how he feels.”
[D’backs.com] Lamb focusing on hitting, ignoring stats - In 358 plate appearances against southpaws over his career, Jake Lamb is hitting .159/.265/.301 resulting in a 44 OPS+, 47 wRC+. Those figures are considerably worse against a left handed reliever as opposed to a left handed starter. 2018 will be an important season for him because he will need to demonstrate that he can maintain consistent performance through the second half of the season, something he has failed to do the past two. He also needs to put together competitive at bats against left handed pitchers or he will risk losing playing time against them, at least late in the game.
“If I’m going to give him a day off, it will probably be against a lefty, but he’s not a platoon player,” Lovullo said. “He’s going to get his ABs against righties and lefties and play a complete season.”
[The Athletic] The Diamondbacks are nearing decision time for their bullpen - Difficult decisions lie ahead in regards to crafting the bullpen the Diamondbacks will begin the regular season with. Mike Hazen approached this season similar to last in that he signed multiple free agent relievers to minor league deals with the opportunity to make the team. That strategy is an effective way to build a successful bullpen when budget constraints exist, and it has led to some exciting competition this spring. The team risks losing some of those options if they are not added to the major league roster, so that could factor into Jimmie Sherfy, a player with options remaining, beginning the season in the minors.
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks’ Yoan Lopez is a prospect again - Yoan Lopez could one day have a tale comparable to that of Steven Souza Jr. Both men were not well received by their teammates in the minor leagues to begin their careers. Souza and Lopez each contemplated leaving the game after their share of struggles. This season Yoan is determined to turn his career around in an effort to finally reach the highest level of the game just as Souza has. The Diamondbacks invested $16 million dollars in Lopez prior to him ever throwing a pitch at the major league level. He was highly successful last season as a reliever and even saw action during the Arizona Fall League against some of the game’s top prospects.
“I think the best thing is that he’s off the radar and he’s hungry,” Visalia pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru said. “There’s no expectations anymore and the pressure is off. I like that. Sometimes guys have to get knocked down. I can’t understand what a person coming over from another country has to deal with. It’s not an excuse, it’s just that I can’t put myself in those shoes. And sometimes people mature at a little slower rate.”
[Fanrag] D-backs confident they can build on 2017 success - The 2018 season will determine which of the past two years is closer to reality for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The likely answer is probably somewhere in between, but last season taught a core group that has played a few seasons together what a playoff team feels like. They will look to maintain that focus in order to repeat their success. Should they make the Postseason for a second year in a row it will be only the second time in franchise history they have done so (2001 & 2002).
Around the League
[Cut4] Blue Jays fans gave Braden Halladay a standing ovation after a stellar inning on the mound - Braden Hallady, 17 year old son of the late Roy Hallady, threw a perfect bottom of the eighth inning against his father’s former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, as a member of the Canadian Junior National Team. His mother was in attendance and witnessed him force two flyouts and a groundout.
[NY Post] Aging MLB veterans have much to prove in cold marketplace - There is still a significant amount of players who remain without a team less than two weeks from Opening Day: Stephen Drew, Melky Cabrera, R. A. Dickey, Josh Collmenter, Alex Cobb, and Greg Holland to name a few. The reason some of these players are unsigned is uncertain. It is possible that a few of these players and their agents feel that they are worth more than the offers they may be receiving. Perhaps some of the teams that are not expected to win much this season, or even those that do, feel that none of these players are an upgrade over current options. Can we expect a trend of teams refusing to sign players in their mid thirties to multi-year contracts going forward?
From 2000-06, there were no fewer than 29,598 plate appearances made by players in their age-34 season or higher, with the peak being an MLB-record 32,468 in 2006. Six of the seven highest totals ever were in this timeframe. It has been fewer than 20,000 each of the past four years, down to 18,933 last season. That is roughly 500 plate appearances per team per year gone from the peak.