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Snake Bytes, 2/24: Bumgarner gets roped in

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Hey, I guess at least it’s not a dirt bike?

The Lang Lang Rodeo In Gippsland
[Image not ACTUALLY of Madison Bumgarner!]
Photo by Jason Edwards/Newspix/Getty Images

[The Athletic] Meet Mason Saunders, the secret rodeo identity of Madison Bumgarner - One of the most famous pitchers in baseball has been competing in team-roping events under an alias for some time. Was he the Mason Saunders who competed alongside Colorado-based roper Tammy Ellerman in March of last year, two days before Bumgarner pitched for the Giants in a Cactus League game against the Athletics? “That was me, too,” Bumgarner said. Has “Saunders” won other events? “Yeah,” he said. “Maybe.”

So, what other Diamondbacks do you think have secret identities?

[AZ Central] Madison Bumgarner: Personal catcher unnecessary with Arizona - Listening to Bumgarner explain it, he would be content throwing to Kelly all season, but he also would be fine throwing to a different catcher every outing. “Whatever gives us the best chance to win,” Bumgarner said. “That’s it.” During parts of 11 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Bumgarner threw almost exclusively to Buster Posey, the exception being when Posey was out with injury. “Obviously, we had a good thing going -- shoot, we’d been together so long,” Bumgarner said. “But I’ve thrown to a lot of other catchers in my career with the Giants, so I don’t think that’s any concern, really.”

[] Trim Ray surprised, happy to be with D-backs - Ray spent the offseason shedding around 15 pounds to try to take some stress off his back. “Last year I put on some weight and I don’t want to say it directly correlated to my back issue, but it probably certainly didn’t help,” Ray said. “So I just tried to get myself in better shape. The biggest thing was not losing my strength.” So yes, Ray reported to camp this year in the best shape of his life, but he bristles at the suggestion that he did so because it’s a contract year.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks single game tickets go on sale Monday - Single-game tickets for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2020 season will go on sale for the first time on Monday at 9 a.m. They can be purchased at the Chase Field box office, online at or by phone at 602-514-8400. The D-backs encourage fans to be fast-acting if they want to attend the home opener on Thursday, March 26, for a game against the Atlanta Braves. Tickets for the game with a 7:10 p.m. first pitch at Chase Field are expected to go fast.

[AZ Central] After ‘whirlwind’ rookie season, Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly focused on baseball - One year ago, Merrill Kelly was in a whirlwind. The ink still drying on his first big-league contract with the Diamondbacks, Kelly was meeting new faces, learning new concepts and trying to coordinate ticket requests for family and friends. Kelly graduated from Scottsdale Desert Mountain High and played for Yavapai College and then Arizona State. All this made it difficult for Kelly to focus on the task at hand — spring training. But this spring, fresh off a rookie campaign in which he led the Diamondbacks in wins with 13, Kelly feels he can finally focus on preparing for the regular season.

[MLB Trade Rumors] Diamondbacks Sign Mark Leiter Jr. To Minors Contract - The Diamondbacks have signed right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. to a minor league deal. Leiter missed all of the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last March. Given the normal 12-15 month timeline for TJ recovery, Leiter might not yet be ready to pitch even if the D’Backs did want to put him on their Opening Day roster, though he could also continue to recover and ramp up in the minors until he is ready for a potential big league return. Assuming good health, Leiter provides the Diamondbacks with a versatile depth arm who has worked as both a starter and reliever.

[Sports Illustrated] 2020 Fantasy Baseball: Arizona Diamondbacks Team Preview - On most nights in 2020, Arizona will wheel out a competitive option to start. Their starting pitching staff has both experience and upside. The health of Luke Weaver and the development of Zac Gallen would be keys to their push toward the postseason. The bullpen doesn’t project to be an edge, but Archie Bradley looks more than capable of handling the 9th inning. Based on name value, the Diamondbacks appear to be trailing a couple of teams in their division on the offensive side of the ball. Arizona has talent at the top of their lineup with some complementary depth, but they don’t have the ideal third and fourth hitters to be an explosive offensive for the long haul. In the mix for a wild card berth, but running down the Dodgers for the division title would be a tall task.

[The Athletic] Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects for 2020 - 29. Daulton Varsho, C. Varsho has worked hard and gotten his receiving to a point where he might stay at catcher, showing more comfort and confidence behind the plate, with his arm strength the one real drawback. Now the bigger question is whether Arizona would prefer to move him out to get him in the lineup more and retain his plus speed. A catcher with this offensive profile is extremely unusual — Jason Kendall with more pop? — and even if Varsho is just adequate at controlling the running game, he could be an occasional All-Star as a catcher, with more upside at the plate if he does move to another position. [Also listed: #33. Corbin Carroll, OF; #45. Kristian Robinson, OF; #57. Alek Thomas, OF; #96. Corbin Martin, RHP; and #98. Geraldo Perdomo, SS]