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Snake Bytes 6/26: Getting the Band Back Together

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Shelby Miller made his return yesterday. Robbie Ray will be back tomorrow. A.J. Pollock has been cleared for baseball activities, and Steven Souza Jr. will begin a rehab assignment.

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins 9, Arizona Diamondbacks 5

[D’backs.com] Miller chased in return from TJ surgery in loss - Shelby Miller made his return to the MLB mound following a year long absence while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He threw 85 pitches and couldn’t escape the 4th inning, but his fastball was touching 96 mph at times. Outside of the velocity his fastball had appealing tailing action at the end of the pitch. He went 3 23 allowing 5 earned runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts.

“It’s just so good to be back,” Miller said. “I felt really good most of the game. I think my command could have been a little bit better. I threw way too many pitches, but overall I think results don’t play out as good as I pitched. It’s been a long recovery. Just to be back means the world to me.

[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Miller gives up five runs in return from Tommy John surgery - More disappointing than Miller’s return was Braden Shipley demonstrating his AAAA standing. He limped into recording the third out in the bottom of the eighth inning allowing the Marlins to score four times putting the game well out of reach. Arizona would try to overcome the 6 run deficit in their half of the 9th, but only managed to tack on 2 more final runs before the end of the game.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks’ Shelby Miller remains positive after rough return against Marlins - Arizona hitters reached base successfully only 8 times in this game, so the fact that they managed to score 5 runs is nothing to scoff at. 6 of those baserunners came in innings 1 through 3, so it initially appeared that the offense was going to put up plenty of run support against Dan Straily. In fact, he had a pitch count pushing 60 without a single out recorded in the 3rd inning, but he shut the D’backs down from that point.

[The Athletic] The Diamondbacks’ starters are getting healthy. But how well will they pitch? - In the returns of Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray, the Diamondbacks get something they’ve been missing from their starting rotation. Ray and Miller can occasionally dial up the velocity to the mid 90’s when needed. Ray’s velocity was down prior to his oblique strain, but if he can find those extra few ticks again it will give the rotation a look it hasn’t had since Taijuan Walker went down with his own injury. Of course, that added firepower means nothing if neither man performs effectively in his starts.

Diamondbacks News

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks accelerate plan for Robbie Ray, set to start on Wednesday - Robbie Ray makes his return to the rotation sooner that anticipated this Wednesday. If he is able to approach his 2017 performance, he will be a significant addition to the rotation while the D’backs are in the thick of a divisional race. Robbie was scheduled to make a rehab appearance in Reno on Wednesday, but with Clay Buchholz going down with his own oblique strain the team decided to forgo that outing.

“Luckily we have some built-in depth,” Lovullo said. “Unfortunately, Clay goes out, but the timing of it couldn’t have worked out any better with Shelby and Robbie being as ready as they both were

[The Athletic] Which D-Backs have the best chance of an All-Star selection? - A month ago you would have been hard pressed to name an All Star on the Diamondbacks’ 25 man roster. Patrick Corbin would have been the top candidate, but he followed up his hot start to the season with a string of mediocre outings. A.J. Pollock might have earned the start in centerfield, but his hand injury essentially took him out of the running. Fast forward to today and it would be a crime for Paul Goldschmidt to not make his 6th consecutive Midsummer Classic as a reserve. David Peralta or Daniel Descalso might have an outside shot in the fan vote themselves.

[Arizona Sports] Healing Diamondbacks have decisions to make upon recent success - There was almost too much good news to go around yesterday. Torey Lovullo announced that A.J. Pollock had been cleared to resume baseball activities and that Steven Souza Jr. would begin a rehab assignment. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will lose their roster spot upon the return of those two. Chris Owings and Deven Marrero appear to be the likeliest candidates. It’s a far cry from having Adam Rosales, Gregor Blanco, and Rey Fuentes riding the bench as they were last season. It’s time to get the band back together for the best chance at a division title since 2011.

Around the League

[ESPN] Power Rankings: Which AL power is No. 1 this week? - Uhhh so the Chicago Cubs just lost a four game set to the Cincinnati Reds, and somehow they’re still ranked higher than the D’backs at #8. About that. USA Today spots Arizona at #7. MLB.com was perhaps ahead of the trend keeping the snakes at their previous standing of #8. CBS Sports sees them as the best team in the NL at #5. Sporting News rethinks its existence for doubting Paul Goldschmidt at #7. The Athletic rounds out the rankings this week placing Arizona at #7.

[Cut4] Curtis Granderson’s foul pop disappeared into Minute Maid Park’s rafters and never came down - Curtis Granderson says to hell with Sir Isaac Newton and the Laws of Gravity. A matchup featuring Granderson at the plate and Justin Verlander on the mound led to a sky high popup that never found its way back down to the field of play. Launch angle rumored to be 92 degrees.

[Yahoo Sports] MLB’s No. 1 draft pick got a $7.5 million bonus, but it doesn’t measure up to NFL or NBA - Detroit Tigers #1 overall pick Casey Mize just made more money than I’ll likely ever make in my entire lifetime just for signing a piece of paper, so that’s cool. In all seriousness, he represents a small minority of MLB draftees. The vast majority of players he will be rubbing elbows with will quietly refer to him and others as “bonus babies”. Many of his teammates won’t have the luxury of a substantial signing bonus to support their minuscule earnings as they toil in the Minor Leagues. For the small percentage who make it to The Show, talent and dedication can lead them to wages that can be considered life altering.

[MLB.com] 9/11 Museum to feature baseball’s healing role - The Arizona Diamondbacks took center stage with the New York Yankees in 2001 as the nation attempted to move forward post 9/11. The storybook narrative would have resulted in the Yankees defeating the D’backs in the 2001 World Series, but fortunately for us we do not live in that alternative timeline. The two teams combined for one of the greatest World Series in the history of the game at a time when the nation needed it the most.