Diamondbacks Spring Training 2022 Report: March 25

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Diamondbacks Spring Training: March 25, 2022

Friday saw another Arizona Diamondbacks spring training workout in the morning. The main focus was a B-game against the Los Angeles Angels. In the afternoon, the team hosted the senior squad of the Angels in a 1 pm exhibition game. Luke Weaver started pitching for the Diamondbacks against Angels righty Janson Junk.

Torey Lovullo Pre-game

Manager Torey Lovullo said that with the B-game, it set up a “split-squad situation where everybody’s going to get at-bats.” He added that the coaching staff will “be able to evaluate a lot of different things. We’re going to start to make some real critical evaluations and pay attention to what’s going on. It’s not necessarily the results, it’s more about the execution, the planning, the heartbeat, what it looks like in a broader scope. I liked what I saw today from the guys that threw: (J.B.) Wendelken, Noe (Ramirez), and (Ian) Kennedy. Also, I saw some quality at-bats against a pretty good left-handed pitcher. So good day so far. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the day.”

The three pitchers Lovullo mentioned gave him his biggest takeaway from the B-game. They “controlled the zone and mixed pitches against some good players there today. (The Angels) had their guys. They had a lot of their guys. So you can’t say that it was against some minor leaguers and they were just thumbing balls up there. Everybody was getting after it. I felt like our guys did really well.”

The team has a long stretch of split squad games coming up starting Sunday. “The reason we piled in so many split squad games was to get our starting pitchers stretched out and create a little bit more competition for those guys to step into that environment. Whether it’s a hitter going back to back or a pitcher going back to back, we feel like the more innings we play, the closer we’re going to be on April 7.

Zack Gallen threw a simulated game for two innings. Depending on how it goes, he will step into a three inning, 45 pitch situation in a few days.

Luke Weaver

Luke Weaver had his first spring start Friday, and it did not go well. He gave up four runs, all earned, on three hits with three walks and no strikeouts across 1 1/3 innings. In addition, he had a wild pitch that gave up a run.

Weaver reflected after leaving the game. “I felt pretty good. The problem today was I was trying to incorporate a little bit of a new move and the last bullpen. I just kind of got caught in between how I know how to pitch and trying to get better mechanically. It’s hard to rep game speed, especially in the first one. Sometimes we have to know when to separate these things, when practice shouldn’t creep into the game. But you don’t know how to simulate game reps until you do it.

“I feel like I got ahead of most of the hitters. There were some execution problems on throwing good 0–2, 1–2, even 2–2 pitches. That’s the toughest part when you get into games, because those are areas that are a little harder to practice in bullpens. The swing and miss areas. That’s something that I’ll work a little bit more on as far as playing catch and bullpens.”

Weaver bluntly summed it all up. “The results weren’t great at all. But I think when we try to take a deeper dive and understand what we’re doing out there, our execution levels, and what we can learn from that, there’s plenty to learn. And with my expectations, that’s definitely a downer out there. But we’ll get up tomorrow morning, hopefully, and get back at it.”

The Move

Weaver said that the goal of the new move is to stabilize the landing leg. By doing so, it should get him on target a little longer. However, it was something they started working on two days ago, and that might have affected his performance. “I expect the next one to be way better,” he said.

Reflecting further on the new mechanic, Weaver said, “It goes along with what I said. You can’t simulate game reps. So these are the moments where you want to try it. In the season, it probably wouldn’t be something that we would be doing. But it takes time to practice something. As the experts say, it takes quite a few times to be perfect or be great at something. So two days — we need a little more time than that. But we’re at a point now where we’re ramping up, and we have to focus on what we do best.”

Weaver did not want to blame everything on the new move, but he admitted that it might have been a factor in his wild pitch. “That thing was springing way up. Yeah, for sure. It’s just a timing thing. There are factors that go into it. Our body moves a certain way, and we have to be real natural and athletic about it. And my body didn’t like it.” He and the coaching staff are still evaluating whether to keep going with it.

Torey Lovullo Post-game

Lovullo said that Weaver was “just okay.” His “fastball command was erratic, like he was pealing out of his delivery. (There were) identifiable things to help him get back on track. Getting him to that pitch count was important, but I also wanted to see some very positive results. I think he was just okay today.” Despite the new mechanic Weaver is working on, it “looked like he was staggering through his outing,” in the eyes of Lovullo.

Seth Beer had another nice day offensively, blasting a no-doubt homer to right that ignited a three-run eighth inning. This tied the game at five and finalized the score. Beer is competing for a spot, not just as the designated hitter, but as a “complete baseball player.”

Looking Ahead

Diamondbacks spring training continues Saturday, March 26. They will hold camp in the morning but do not have a game in the afternoon. On Sunday, they will play a pair of split-squad games. One group will head to Surprise to play the Texas Rangers, while the other will remain at Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. In the away game, Diamondbacks lefty Tyler Gilbert will face Rangers righty A.J. Alexy. For the home game, Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for the Diamondbacks against Ryan Rolison of the Rockies in a battle of lefties. Both games will start around 1 pm.

Lovullo and the rest of the staff are expecting Bumgarner to “pound the zone and be as consistent as we’ve seen in the past and start landing all his pitches. That’s the key, and that’s what we’re looking for. At some point during the spring, these guys get that feel back, and everything starts to come together.

“Same with Tyler. He had a great three-inning outing, so I’ll expect good news coming from that part of the Valley.” (Lovullo is managing the home game Sunday, and bench coach Jeff Banister is managing the away game against his former team.) Gilbert is in the running for a rotation spot, along with several other players. “He’s here to compete, and he knows that. You can see with the additions and the names that are that are popping into this camp that the competition level has picked up considerably. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Main Photo:

Diamondbacks spring training
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Mar 25) — The grounds crew grooms the infield at Salt River Fields after the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels played to a 5–5 tie in Cactus League action. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

Players mentioned:

Luke Weaver, Janson Junk, Torey Lovullo, Seth Beer, Tyler Gilbert, A.J. Alexy, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Rolison, Jeff Banister, J.B. Wendelken, Noe Ramirez, Ian Kennedy