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Snake Bytes 3/1: March to Opening Day

I was able to enjoy my first taste of baseball this year at Camelback Ranch yesterday. It wasn’t a victory, and I was lost in a sea of Dodger fans, but it sure does beat not having baseball at all.

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Oakland Athletics v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Diamondbacks News

[D’] Bradley craves more Spring Training innings - D-backs closer Archie Bradley had a request for manager Torey Lovullo when Spring Training opened: “Pitch me more.” In an attempt to get off to a better start than he did last year, Bradley wants to throw more innings in Spring Training than he did last year, and he wants to pitch multiple innings in games. “Basically,” Bradley said, “it’s me just getting back to getting ready the way I always have — a comfortable feeling.” After Bradley appeared in a career-high 76 games in 2018, the D-backs wanted to bring him along slowly last spring. They limited his appearances and innings to six Cactus League games and six innings. Bradley struggled in the first half of last year, compiling a 4.95 ERA vs. a 1.71 mark in the second half. While not saying that was the reason for the early struggles, Bradley wants to prepare more like he did in 2017, when he was trying to win a spot in the rotation.

[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks’ offensive struggles continue in loss to Los Angeles Dodgers - Taylor Clarke gave up three runs in both the first and second innings, finishing with six earned runs allowed on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. “I think we just made too many mistakes over the middle of the zone,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “(Clarke) threw some fastballs and pitches out over the plate. This team, obviously, with those guys, they’re going to hurt you.” It was a second consecutive shaky outing for Clarke, who allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings in his first spring appearance.

[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Lovullo seeking consistency and quality of strikes in rotation battle - The Arizona Diamondbacks have a plethora of options to fill five spots in the starting rotation with Opening Day just under a month away. Ace Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Mike Leake and Luke Weaver figure to take up four of the five spots. Zac Gallen, Jon Duplantier, Merill Kelly, Alex Young and Taylor Clarke all appear to be battling for the final spot. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said consistency and quality of strikes are what he is looking for when weighing his options about who will be the team’s fifth starter.

[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Geraldo Perdomo hopes added strength translates into power - Most scouts view the Diamondbacks’ Geraldo Perdomo as an intriguing prospect because they believe he can stick at shortstop and they like his approach at the plate and his bat-to-ball skills. One of their only questions is if he can add power to his game, but Perdomo might already be doing just that. Perdomo, 20, said he has added about 17 pounds from what he weighed during the Arizona Fall League season. And he said the ball is coming off his bat better than ever. “I feel stronger,” Perdomo said. “If you see me when I hit BP, you’d see that’s not the Perdomo of last year. I feel really, really good. I worked hard in the offseason. I worked in the gym every day, hit and worked my legs a little bit.”

[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Torey Lovullo excited for WBC return to Chase Field in 2021 - Some of the best players in the sport will take the field to represent their country at Chase Field in the 2021 World Baseball Classic, and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo is excited for what the event could do for the sport in Arizona. “Recruiting fans is what we do day-by-day,” said Lovullo. “If we could maybe ride the coattails of that and sweep in after they play a really good first round, maybe we continue the trend and keep those fans coming to the ballpark.” The World Baseball Classic in 2013 was a big hit in the Valley as Phoenix hosted five games at Chase Field. One contest also took place at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. It was an electric atmosphere at Chase Field when Mexico and the United States clashed, as over 44,000 people attended the game.

Around the League

[MLB Trade Rumors] Dodgers Designate Yadier Alvarez For Assignment - The Dodgers have designated right-hander Yadier Alvarez for assignment, according to Ken Gurnick of Alvarez was reinstated from the restricted list, but was designated in lieu of occupying a 40-man roster spot. He was expected to pitch yesterday, but was a late scratch from his first spring appearance. The Dodgers awarded Alvarez with a $16MM bonus when he signed with the organization as an international amateur in July 2015. He quickly made a name for himself as a consensus top-100 prospect, but has failed to live up to that billing with three unproductive seasons plagued by persisting control issues. Today marks yet another setback for the 23-year-old flamethrower. He was placed on the restricted list in September of 2019, capping off a season in which injuries limited him to just two minor league starts.

[CBS Sports] Two MLB pitchers say the spring training baseball is different than last year’s baseball - Last season’s lively baseball — lively as in the seams were lower, creating less drag, and the leather surface was slicker — led to a home run explosion throughout the league. There were 6,776 home runs hit in 2019, easily the most in MLB history. The previous record was 6,105 homers in 2017. Before that, the record was 5,693 homers in 2000. Weirdly, the baseball appeared to change in the postseason. It was not quite as lively, and after being conditioned to expect pretty much every well-struck ball to carry over the fence during the regular season, it was a bit of a shock to see some balls get squared up and caught for outs in October. The baseball can vary just year-to-year, but even month-to-month. The Cactus League and Grapefruit League seasons are now a week old and, at least according to two pitchers, the 2020 baseball is different than the 2019 baseball. Specifically, the ball is a little softer, and the seams are a bit higher. Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka says the current ball feels like the 2017 baseball (which was still pretty lively, of course).

[Yahoo Sports] If Max Scherzer were commissioner, the first rule he’d change is the dropped third strike - Earlier this week, [Max] Scherzer was asked what’s one rule he would change if he were the commissioner of Major League Baseball. His response, although a minor detail in the game, is one many pitchers probably agree with him on. “There’d be little things, but let’s start with the dropped third strike,” Scherzer told NBC Sports Washington. “That’s gotta go.” The rule is such: if a batter swings and misses on the third strike but the catcher doesn’t catch the pitch cleanly, the batter can then run to first base and force the catcher to make a throw to first in order to record the out. Scherzer specifically referenced one time the dropped third strike really impacted him and the Nationals as a whole. “It’s always been a pet peeve of mine, but especially in Game 5 against the Cubs,” Scherzer said. “It came back and really bit me in the butt.”