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Snake Bytes 3/16: Moving Closer

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Tickets? On sale? Pinch Me.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks News

[D’backs.com] Weaver welcomes feedback in sim game - After he let go of what he thought might be a good curveball that the batter instead made solid contact on, D-backs right-hander Luke Weaver wanted to know why. So, in between innings he asked the hitter. Of course, you can’t get away with that during a regular season game, or even a Cactus League one, but you can do it if you’re facing a teammate on a backfield in a simulated game. That’s where Weaver was Monday morning, getting in some work on his breaking stuff while Taylor Widener struck out five over 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners in the D-backs’ 6-2 win. Outfielder David Peralta told Weaver that he was able to recognize that particular curveball quickly out of Weaver’s hand.

[Arizona Sports] Taylor Widener strikes out 5 over 3.1 scoreless innings in D-backs win - Taylor Widener made a statement in his first spring start. The Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher allowed just two hits, one walk and struck out five through 3.1 scoreless innings in a 6-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday. “I feel like I had pretty much everything working today,” Widener said via Zoom. “I’m starting to really feel my slider again, I’ve been working pretty hard on it. “I’ve been utilizing my slider and my changeup a little more, trying not the be as fastball heavy, so it’s like I kind of had everything working for me today.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker works hard, hits hard to find solidified place in lineup - Christian Walker hit the ball hard again on Monday, launching a solo home run high off the batter’s eye in center field at the Peoria Sports Complex in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 6-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. Walker hit three of the Diamondbacks’ five longest home runs by projected distance last season, going deep for a projected 444 feet on Sept. 8 off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, 446 feet at Chase Field against the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 25 and hitting a 451-foot bomb into the left field seats at empty Coors Field on Aug. 11. Walker said the hard hitting comes from the way he plays the game. According to Baseball Reference, 52.4% of the balls he put in play had an exit velocity of 95 miles per hour or more in 2019. Last season, it was 48.8%.

[The Athletic] Diamondbacks’ Carson Kelly rebuilt his swing and aims to recapture his 2019 form - It was hard to see at the time, but it was glaringly clear when [Carson] Kelly pulled up the video. His 2020 swing sat next to his 2019 swing, and the differences were obvious. It was like comparing self-assembled IKEA furniture with the picture on the box. Ohhh, that’s where I went wrong. There was a lot to fix, so Kelly got to work earlier than he usually does over the offseason. The problem was that his mechanics had created a very small “hitting window” – basically, the barrel of the bat was not maximizing its time in the strike zone. Because of that, it sometimes seemed like it would be easier for Kelly to make contact with alien lifeforms than the baseball. He particularly struggled against the fastball. After hitting .294 against fastballs in 2019, Kelly hit just .227 against them last season. And if you can’t hit the fastball, you can’t hit much else. “I was in a bad position to make consistent contact,” Kelly said. “I was swinging through a lot of fastballs and not recognizing breaking balls.”

[ABC15] Arizona Diamondbacks tickets to go on sale March 25: Here is what fans can expect at Chase Field - In a couple of weeks, Spring Training will end and the regular season will begin at Chase Field, where the D-backs are expecting to allow up to 25% of the stadium’s 48,000-seat capacity. The D-backs season begins April 1 against the San Diego Padres. Their home opener begins April 9 with a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, followed by a two-game series against Oakland Athletics. Single-game tickets for the team’s first three homestands go on sale at 9 a.m. on March 25 the D-backs said Monday.

Around the League

[MLB Trade Rumors] Ryan Braun “Strongly Leaning” Toward Retirement - As of February, free-agent outfielder Ryan Braun said he wasn’t interested in continuing his playing career. That still seems to be the case, as Braun stated in a radio interview Monday that he hasn’t touched a baseball or a bat since last season ended, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets. Braun also revealed that he’s “strongly leaning” toward retirement, though he’s not ready to commit to a decision yet. If the 37-year-old Braun does continue his career, it appears it will have to be with the Brewers – the only organization he has known since he went fifth overall in the 2015 draft. Braun admitted that he “can’t foresee a scenario in which I play for any other major league team,” per Will Sammon of The Athletic. In the event it’s Brewers or bust for Braun, then the longtime left fielder probably is done. After all, the club already has Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, the newly signed Jackie Bradley Jr. and Avisail Garcia as its top four outfielders. Braun has a bit of first base experience on his resume, but the Brewers are committed to Keston Hiura at that position. It would be easier to envision a Braun-Brewers reunion had the National League kept the designated hitter for 2021, but that’s not happening.

[Bleacher Report] Former MLB Pitcher Eulogio ‘Frankie’ De La Cruz Dies at Age 37 - Eulogio “Frankie” De La Cruz, who pitched for parts of four MLB seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers, has died at age 37. The news was announced Monday by the Toros Del Este, De La Cruz’s Dominican winter league team (h/t Evan Woodbery of MLive.com). Per Woodbery, media outlets in the Dominican Republic reported that De La Cruz had a heart attack Sunday night. The Santo Domingo native made his MLB debut with the Tigers in June 2007, going on to appear in six games and finish with a 6.75 ERA. The next season, he was dealt to the Marlins in the deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit.

[Fox Sports Radio] Trevor Bauer Blasts MLB After Receiving Warning on Rare Uniform Violation - Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Bauer took to Twitter to call out Major League Baseball on Sunday after he received a letter in the mail warning him about violating the uniform policy his during a Spring Training game. Bauer posted a picture of the letter that MLB sent him. The letter ended with a note saying Bauer would be subject to discipline, including the possibility of a fine, if the violations continue.