SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Diamondbacks’ fast-tracking of Archie Bradley will include a start in Australia. Bradley, who remains in contention for a spot in the starting rotation, will pitch the D-backs’ exhibition game against the Australian national team on March 21, the better to broaden his horizons.
The Diamondbacks met with Bradley yesterday.
"One of the things he told us was that he has to become better at keeping the game slowed down," Gibson said. "He has great stuff, but it happens to us all. Kind of give him the exposure (in Australia). It is important to give him that. It helps to get him into more elevated, more high-leverage situations that he has to deal with and keep control of."
Bradley has given up three hits and no runs in his two spring starts covering 6 1/3 innings. Henry Blanco and Miguel Montero have caught one start apiece, and Montero reported that Bradley spotted his curveball well in 3 1/3 innings against the Angles on Saturday.
"I feel good. That’s what spring is all about, figuring out where you are stuff-wise. Arm-wise, I feel good. I’m just going to keep fine-tuning things until it’s time to go," Bradley said. "Pitching in Australia is a lot different than an eight-hour bus ride to Birmingham, Alabama, or something like that. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s an honor."
With Bronson Arroyo’s back acting up, the D-backs are keeping all options open. Arroyo played long toss Saturday and Sunday and said the Saturday session "wasn’t that good." Arroyo plans to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and make his next start Friday after missing a March 4 start because of the back. Randall Delgado also is a candidate for a spot start.
This next week will tell us a lot. See how everything pans out. See how they are throwing the ball, health-wise, et cetera. There are so many scenarios, but they are not worth talking about.
Kirk Gibson on the D-backs' still-in-flux rotation
"He’s still in the mix," Gibson said of Bradley. "Kind of waiting to see how Arroyo works out, kind of how the whole dynamic of the starting staff will work out. This next week will tell us a lot. See how everything pans out. See how they are throwing the ball, health-wise, et cetera. There are so many scenarios, but they are not worth talking about."
Bradley is not being considered for a bullpen role, Gibson said. The Diamondbacks are not expected to take starters Arroyo, Wade Miley or Brandon McCarthy to Australia, although Miley was considered for a bullpen role.
"They don’t have to do the travel and back," Gibson said. "We’re just trying to prepare to win as many games as we can, and we figure that is the way to go."
Gibson has said that the D-backs’ Australia roster will include a third catcher, to be safe — think foul tip, first batter of the game, 17-hour flight to get a replacement. He also said he does not want to use any of his regular relievers in the exhibition game.
Reliever Oliver Perez wore No. 59 and threw a bullpen session at the D-backs’ facility Sunday, although the team still will not say that he is officially a member. He agreed to a two-year, $4.25 million deal on Friday, but apparent the medicals are not back.
Gibson believes Perez should not be pigeon-holed as a specialist.
"I think he could throw a third of an inning," Gibson said. "I think he could throw an inning at a time. I think he could throw an inning and a third. It just depends on who you are facing and what your need it."
Although Perez arrived in camp five weeks after the D-backs opened spring training, Gibson believes it is "possible Perez will be ready for the start of the season.
"We’ll have him on a pretty aggressive schedule," Gibson said.
Ready for Australia?
"Could be. He’s been throwing a lot," Gibson said.
After sliding for the first time Saturday, Cody Ross played in a camp game at Salt River Fields, where he was expected to run at about 90 percent out of the batter’s box, which would be another spring first. The D-backs have been pleased by the straight line his recovery from a fractured hip has taken.
"The thing I’ll say about Cody, unlike other guys we’ve had come back from serious injuries, everything that he has done has been good," Gibson said. "He’s really had no setbacks. Every step of the way, it has all been great. When he slid yesterday, he just attacked it. No apprehension at all."
Ross, who took about 10 slides Saturday, is likely to make his first spring appearance as a pinch hitter, Gibson said. He is likely to continue to get work in Arizona while the Diamondbacks are in Australia.
The Diamondbacks optioned left-hander Eury De La Rosa, right-hander Zeke Spruill and outfielders Ender Inciarte and Alfredo Marte to Class AAA Reno on Sunday while trimming their camp roster to 40.
Right-handers Jake Barrett, Mike Bolsinger, Adam Russell and Matt Stites, infielders Nick Ahmed, Nick Evans and Jake Lamb, catcher Bobby Wilson and outfielder Danny Dorn were reassigned to the minor league camp.
Left-handers were 3 for 26 against De La Rosa during his time in the major leagues last summer.
"No. 1, he has to be a specialist. He knows that. He’s getting closer. He is developing, and he is starting to figure out what he needs to do," Gibson said.