I’ve got to give it to DC, and anyone else on an east coast/international time zone, for sticking with the D’backs year after year despite the time difference. I’m in New Jersey for the weekend, so I’ve got a greater appreciation for his, and others, sacrifice of sleep throughout the season. Although I’d likely have more energy had my flight not been delayed five hours.
Arizona Diamondbacks News
[D’backs.com] D-backs counting on Ray to return to form - Robbie Ray is tied for 2nd among all MLB pitchers in strikeouts this Spring at 32. The leader is Max Scherzer with 34 K’s, but he has tossed 10 more innings than Ray. Arizona will need him to continue to miss bats, and pitch deep into games, to compensate for the loss of Patrick Corbin’s contributions in 2018.
“This year, he’s a different guy,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said, referring to the 2019 version of Ray. “His stuff is really standing out, it’s coming out hot and I know he worked hard to make that happen. So we’re looking for him to have a big year.”
[AZ Central] As MLB draft bounty awaits, Arizona Diamondbacks’ scouts search for gems - [Mark] Ross is the Diamondbacks’ area scout for the four-corners region of the country. He is part of what Assistant General Manager Amiel Sawdaye refers to as the club’s first line of defense. In many ways, the weight of the future of the organization hangs on his shoulders, a burden spread among more than 25 full-time scouts and supervisors the club has bouncing around the country this spring. The Diamondbacks have before them a substantial opportunity this year. They have eight of the first 93 picks. They are expected to have more than $15 million to spend in bonus money, likely the second-highest total ever. Perhaps no team in the bonus pool era has had this combination of premium picks — they’ll pick four times in the Top 34 — and have deep pockets.
“I felt like everything was working,” said Ray after the start. “Fastball command was there, really sharp breaking ball, so that was a good one to have before the season started.” “Everything just is clicking,” he added when asked if he was doing anything differently this spring to yield improved results. “I think I feel more prepared going into this season than I have in years past. You know, mentally, physically, I fell in a really good spot right now.”
[D’backs.com] Greinke pitches in ‘B’ game, weighs cutting hair - D-backs right-hander Zack Greinke got in his final tuneup before his Opening Day start by pitching in a back-field game against Minor Leaguers in the Rockies’ organization Saturday afternoon. Greinke threw 92 pitches over 6 1/3 innings, and also made four plate appearances. One reason Greinke started in a “B” game was so that the team could control his outing, but another was so that the Giants, who the D-backs were playing at Scottsdale Stadium, would not get an extra look at him before the regular season.
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks’ prospects entering critical, data-driven season - Every morning, Diamondbacks minor leaguers fan out on the backfields at Salt River Fields and start to provide hints of what they might become. And the club’s player development system — a sprawling web of coaches, executives, trainers and data — is there to help them. This could be a landmark year for Diamondbacks prospects. Many of those whose futures appear most promising will play at a full-season level for the first time. If they show they belong, it could go a long way toward opening up a new window of contention.
Around the League
[CBS Sports] Justin Verlander, Astros reportedly agree to record-breaking contract extension - The Houston Astros and ace Justin Verlander have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $66 million. Mark Berman of Fox 26 was first to report a deal was done, and multiple reporters have since confirmed. The deal reportedly includes no deferred money, which helps make this a record contract in terms of average annual value (i.e., annual salary).
[MLB Trade Rumors] Scooter Gennett To Spend 8-12 Weeks On Injured List - Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett will be sidelined for the next 8-12 weeks due to a right groin strain, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (Twitter link). Gennett suffered the injury yesterday during the second inning of the Reds’ Spring Training game, while making an awkward slide on a fielding play. The news is a major blow to a Reds team that had a busy offseason in preparation for a return to contention in the NL Central. Now, Cincinnati will have to wait until mid-May at the earliest to welcome back their All-Star second baseman.