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Snake Bytes, 4/12: One fastball too many?

Or SEVERAL fastballs too many?

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MLB: San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


[]Bradley's fastball looks untouchable, until ... - Nothing, it seems, has come easily for Bradley since 2017, a magical season in which he made the team out of Spring Training as a long reliever and wound up being one of the best setup men in baseball. Then last season, a split nail suffered in the spring limited his ability to throw his curveball and batters took advantage. It was still a good season for him, a 3.64 ERA, but not a dominant one like the year before. This year, it’s been more of same -- good, but not great. “You’ve seen my outings this year,” Bradley said. “I’ve been working all year. None of them have really been clean. I’ve been busting my [butt] to try to get back and in the same timing and rhythm that I’m used to, and I’m really close. I’m just not there yet.”

[AZ Central] Padres power past Diamondbacks, claim series opener - Early in his session with reporters, Lovullo seemed not to regret giving Godley such a long leash. Pressed about his pitcher’s issues with allowing innings to spiral, Lovullo seemed to change his tune. “For me, I could probably do a better job of getting somebody else in the game depending on what the situation is,” Lovullo said. “For him, it’s just about understanding it doesn’t need to compound itself. You just need to stop, step back and make some pitches and get out of the jam and not let things get out of control.”

[Arizona Sports] Missed opportunities cost Diamondbacks against Padres - Even though four of the first five Arizona hitters reached base, they were only up 1-0. “I think if we get a hit or two there, it’s a big KO,” Lovullo pointed out. “And I think they’re really having a tough time maneuvering in their bullpen. I think they’re a little short with certain guys. I know they were minus certain guys because of the series they just came out of, so yeah those were some key pitches that were made by their starting pitcher that really set the tone for the rest of the day. Because he got on a nice run after that.”

Team news

[AZ Central] D-Backs balance present and future with Duplantier decision - Another factor, Hazen said, was ensuring that the team was prepared for the unexpected when it comes to needs in the rotation. “It’s just a tricky thing, to me, at the very beginning of April with a guy who’s pitching in the bullpen,” Hazen said. “If it’s a rotation spot or if it’s a spot where leverage pitchers were banged up, that’s different. But with the role, with the potential inconsistency of use and having to get through another 5 1/2 months of games. …We’ve seen it in the past with what you can end up going through in your starting rotation from a depth standpoint. You can do it pretty quickly sometimes. You hope that never happens, but it’s the nature of pitching and managing a pitching staff in the big leagues.”

[] Greinke to address early-inning struggles - “I don’t know,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said when asked for a theory why the first two innings have been an issue for his ace. “But I had a nice conversation with Zack on that very topic. He acknowledged that it’s been happening and he has vowed to improve. And that’s one of the beauties of Zack working through his limitations. He confronts them, he’s aware of them and I feel like it’s something that won’t linger beyond this next start because he’s going to work hard to get through those first couple of innings in typical Zack fashion.”

[] D-Backs fan catches a special home run ball | Arizona Diamondbacks - Alex Robertson caught a home run ball on his 21st birthday, but that's not all. The catch happened just three weeks after his father died. Robertson says his dad was a huge D-Backs fan and they used to watch games together all the time. Robertson was so distraught when his dad died, he didn't want to do anything for his birthday. At the last minute he decided to go to last night's game where he almost left in the seventh inning but ended up staying. That when he says the ball ended up at his feet.

[Baseball America] 2019 MLB Draft: Order, Slot Values & Team Bonus Pool Amounts - With seven total picks on Day 1 and eight of the first 100 selections, the D-backs will have $16,093,700 to spend during the 2019 draft, just over $2 million more than the Orioles, who have the second-highest bonus pool... The number of picks and extra pool money will allow the D-backs to make a large impact on the 2019 draft class. While it is more difficult to slide players down the board under the current CBA, having the most money in the draft could allow Arizona to confidently take any player who is falling for signability concerns. It could also allow the organization to take a few more risks on players with big tools but less track record, while not having their draft hinge upon those players panning out.

[The Athletic] Adam Jones on Manny Machado’s rep as a dirty player: Race is ‘one hundred percent’ a factor - Do you think Manny’s reputation would be different if he were white? One hundred percent. One hundred percent. One hundred percent. We know that, because some players are called grinders and other players are called something else. Some players are called pouting, other players are called passionate. It’s all about how you word it. [Jim: Counterpoint = Chase Utley]

[AZ Central] Padres-Diamondbacks series brings another reunion for Jones, Machado - The two remain close, with Machado sending gifts for Jones' kids, who call him Uncle Manny. Machado watched them start to grow up, as Jones watched Machado himself grow. But that didn't come without growing pains. Seven years older, Jones was there for Machado through them all. "He’s always been a guy that’s always helped me, whether I was wrong, whether I was right," Machado said. "There were a lot of times I was wrong, 100%. Which I’ve always agreed to that, I acknowledge that. But he knows who I am, he knows me as a person, he knows how I treat people."

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Taco Tuesdays, bus rides and 0-2 sliders -- Tim Tebow's life in the minors - Tebow, 31, the starting left fielder on a seasoned roster that includes 11 players in their 30s, is batting only .136 after an 0-for-4 on Wednesday. There are moments when he looks like he belongs. On Tuesday, he delivered a bases-loaded, two-out single that drove in two runs to tie the Rochester Red Wings in an eventual 7-5 win. He fought off a full-count pitch by former major leaguer Kohl Stewart, slashing it over third base for an opposite-field hit. The shivering crowd roared with delight -- if it's possible for 400 or so to generate a roar.

[stltoday] Automated pitch-calling system in minors put on hold - Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League announced Wednesday the experiment with radar-tracking technology to call balls and strikes will not be used when the independent minor league starts play on April 25. Instead, the technology “will be implemented gradually over the course of the 2019 season.” No date for the start was announced. Plate umpires will wear earpieces and be informed of ball and strike calls by a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar. Umps will have the ability to override the computer, which considers a pitch a strike when the ball bounces and then crosses the zone. TrackMan also does not evaluate check swings. [Jim: the computer has since filed a discrimination lawsuit against MLB]

[Fox] Las Vegas minor league umpire booed for not letting dog fetch baseball bat - Finn the Bat Dog, the Aviators' baseball bat-collecting canine, was seen running to home plate to retrieve a leftover bat. However, the home plate umpire beat the dog to it and tossed the bat aside. Finn, being a good boy (a very good boy), fetched the bat anyway. The crowd jeered the umpire's error, erupting in loud, prolonged booing. The yells could be heard as Finn grabbed the bat and returned it to the dugout in a moment that was shared on dog’s Twitter page.