Diamondbacks Spring Training: March 31, 2022
Tuesday saw another Arizona Diamondbacks spring training workout in the morning. In the afternoon, the team played a 1 pm exhibition game against the San Diego Padres, whom they also faced in a B-game in the morning. Luke Weaver took the hill in the afternoon game for his second start of the spring. He faced Padres southpaw Blake Snell.
Torey Lovullo Pre-game
Manager Torey Lovullo said that Taylor Widener, Oliver Perez, and Matt Peacock all “threw the ball really well” in the B-game.
The roster is getting trimmed down more and more as Opening Day rapidly approaches. On Thursday, the team made five moves: lefty Caleb Baragar, infielder Drew Ellis, and right-hander Luis Frias were optioned to Triple-A Reno, while right-handed reliever Keynan Middleton and outfielder Alek Thomas were reassigned to minor league camp. “We’ve got to make some tough decisions,” Lovullo said. He also acknowledged that the team is seeing more options with the pitching staff than they have going into recent seasons. “The ones that remain, we feel like, are very good options, and we still have some tough decisions to make.” There are some traits that the team always looks for, but the overriding one is “guys who control the zone.”
With the teams carrying 28-man rosters through May 1, Lovullo said that he’ll be fine with either 13 position players and 15 pitchers or 14 of each.
Luke Weaver had to leave the game after facing one batter in the top of the fourth, giving him 12 for the game. He allowed no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out three. As far as the game, Weaver felt “pretty good about the day.”
But the early departure was the bigger story. After his departure, Weaver showed reporters why he left. It was a small gash between the two knuckles of his right thumb, something Weaver called “a deep nail wound.” The wound resembled a broken blood blister and results from the nail in his index finger jamming into his thumb after he releases his fastball.
This is something he’s dealt with before, but not for a while. “College, off and on, and a little bit in the minor leagues,” he recalled. “Once in a blue moon it’s happened in Arizona, but it’s a random thing.”
Typically, he keeps his nails cut short enough to avoid it, but the nail wasn’t short enough during his recent live BP. The wound was “close to healing” and didn’t affect Weaver during his last start, but it reopened during Thursday’s game. “During the first (Luke) Voit at-bat, I ripped it pretty good,” Weaver said, “spewing blood pretty bad.” He said he just had to wipe it up, and between innings, the trainer put something on it to “add a layer of (protection).” It tore open again in the third, Weaver said, and after pitching to Jake Cronenworth in the fourth, “it became hard to pitch with it. I wasn’t getting the control I needed. (My pitches were) missing pretty bad.”
Weaver does not seem to think the wound is all that serious. Four days “gives us plenty of time to figure out a plan. This one’s pretty bad, because when you (add) a layer of something sticky, the rip is pulling the skin with it. So you’re fighting against the help.
“When it first happened, I got through it for the (first) start and didn’t really have an issue. It was almost close to healing — a teeny little scab ready to be healed. And that first inning ripped it off, like a kid being ignorant on the playground and having to deal with it.”
Torey Lovullo Postgame
Lovullo agreed with Weaver about the thumb after the game, saying, “I think it’ll be okay. My gut instinct is telling me that he’ll come in tomorrow, resume his throwing program, and keep everything in shape. It might be one of those things that’s nagging, (but) we’ll monitor that.
“As far as the stuff, he had a good day. Luke threw the ball really, really well. He was executing pitches. His velocity was anywhere between 91 and 95-96 miles an hour. He’s backing it up with a changeup and a couple of really nice breaking balls. One that stood out was a 3–2 breaking ball that ended up getting fouled off. But it shows confidence that he’s developing in that pitch to throw it in a crucial time with that count.”
One sequence in the top of the third inning was especially important. After two hard-luck singles by the Padres with one out, including one that glanced off the glove off diving shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, Weaver got Manny Machado to hit a hard grounder to short. Perdomo dove again, making the play this time. He fired to Jake Hager at second for one. Hager’s relay beat Machado on a close play, ending the frame with a slick 6–4–3 double play.
Weaver said, “That was definitely a huge play there by Perdomo. Great snag.” Lovullo added, “Those are the types of plays that I’m expecting us to make. It was a great, great play by Perdomo to get that double play started. Those are the little things that we missed out on doing last year. Last year we might have gotten one out on that play. But we really stressed the importance of getting the defense off the field. The great play was something that gave us a little bit of energy. I’m sure it gave Luke a good boost. And it’s pretty demoralizing to the opposition. Those were plays we did not make last year that used to really frustrate me, so we worked hard on that this spring training.”
“We continue to pile up really good at-bats,” Lovullo said of the 8–2 exhibition victory. “Not necessarily the results. I love the home runs…but just the way we’re controlling the zone and controlling the at-bats. When you look up there and see we’ve got a lot of walks and a lot of hits, that means there’s a lot of run scoring opportunities.”
After the game but before press time, the Diamondbacks acquired Listher Sosa from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher that pitched in a rookie league in 2021. In return, the Diamondbacks sent recently DFAed infielder Josh VanMeter, who hit the walk-off home run that ended the Diamondbacks’ 2021 season.
Diamondbacks spring training continues Friday, April 1. They will hold camp in the morning before splitting up for a pair of split-squad games. One squad will host the Chicago Cubs at 1:10 pm, while the other will head to Goodyear to face the newly named Cleveland Guardians in an evening affair. First pitch will be at 6:05. Madison Bumgarner will start against the Cubs; Tyler Gilbert will start against the Guardians.
Luke Weaver, Blake Snell, Torey Lovullo, Taylor Widener, Oliver Perez, Matt Peacock, Caleb Baragar, Drew Ellis, Luis Frias, Keynan Middleton, Alek Thomas, Jake Cronenworth, Geraldo Perdomo, Manny Machado, Jake Hager, Madison Bumgarner, Tyler Gilbert, Listher Sosa, Josh VanMeter