A’s 6, Diamondbacks 5
Matt Reynolds’ appearance Tuesday was not the first of his career. It only felt like it.
Reynolds was back on a major league mound for the first time since June 9, 2013, when he experienced arm tightness that led to Tommy John surgery that September. He did not pitch last season before resuming a throwing program this winter.
"Excited, thrilled that I got out there again," Reynolds said. "I’ll be honest, my head was racing. It was probably very similar to my major league debut, in that I had a tough time controlling my emotions, my thoughts."
Entering with two men on, Reynolds gave up a Billy Burns double that drove in the winning run in the eighth inning in Oakland’s 6-5 victory. Reynolds also walked one before getting the final two outs in the inning with an assist from catcher Blake Lalli.
"He said, ‘You’re going to throw it right to the glove and you’re going to get a ground ball double play.’ It was one of those things that re-channeled my focus," said Reynolds, who has 195 major league appearances.
"It was kind of crazy emotion-wise. I wasn’t as calm and I need to be."
At the same time, "I feel like I got over the hump," he added.
Reynolds was 0-2 with a 1.98 ERA and two saves in 30 games in his first season with the D-backs in 2013, and his return could give the D-backs a second lefty in the bullpen to go with Oliver Perez.
Cahill gave up four hits, all singles, and a run in two innings in his second spring start while striking out two. He pitched a 1-2-3 second inning after the A’s did all their damage in the first. Cahill said he is getting more comfortable with his new arm angle, still a work in progress.
"I was able to kind of figure out where to aim it to get it over for a strike," Cahill said. "Last start, the results weren’t bad but I didn’t feel as comfortable. Today I was a lot more comfortable. It feels a lot different than I am used to. It’s tough, but as long as it’s better in the long run. … It’s still early March. Stick with it and stick with it and hopefully it will just click."
Cahill got two outs on groundouts while keeping the ball low, his focus.
"It was progress," said manager Chip Hale said. "He’s getting it."
Nuno was hit hard for the second game in a row, giving up five hits — four doubles and a home run — and four runs in three innings. He followed Cahill, taking the mound in the third inning. His focus this spring is throwing fewer strikes, but more quality strikes.
"(Pitching coach Mike) Harkey said I throw too many strikes," Nuno said. "Strikes that should be balls, and balls that should be more balls."
The bullpen is a viable option for Nuno.
"Nuno fits as a starter for us, but he is also intriguing in the bullpen because of his ability to bounce back and pitch multiple innings," Hale said. "We are going to need that in our bullpen this year, so he’s kind of in a dual role we’re looking at him."
Bradley gave up a single, walked two and hit a batter in a 1 2/3 innings, but the only run charged to him came after he left the game. Hale said he was wowed by Bradley’s poise in his first appearance and liked what he saw again Tuesday.
"Archie was really good, maybe got a little tired there. Really good mound presence," Hale said.
If he continues to pitch well …
"There would be nothing wrong with Archie making the team," Hale said. "There would be nothing wrong with Archie doing really well in spring training and going to Double-A and pitching. It doesn’t matter where you are. You can get called up from anywhere."
Catcher Oscar Hernandez left the game with two outs in the last of the fourth inning with soreness in his left wrist that occurred when he took a swing during an at-bat in the top of the inning. "I felt a bang on a swing," Hernandez said. Hale said he noticed Hernandez favoring his wrist while on defense in the last of the inning and called for the change, bringing Blake Lalli in from the bullpen. Hernandez was to be seen by hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan after the game. "Hopefully a bruise, but you never know. You have to check it out," Hale said. Hernandez, who has impressed the D-backs with his defense this spring, threw out a runner attempting to steal second base in the first inning and singled in a run in a two-run second. He was charged with a throwing error on another stolen base attempt, but his throw to second was catchable, tipping off an infielder’s glove. … Cody Ross had a pair of doubles, off Sonny Gray and Barry Zito, and has four hits in 10 at-bats. … Jordan Pacheco doubled, his second in eight spring at-bats.
Right-hander Brad Ziegler is to throw batting practice Wednesday, when Chris Owings will be among the hitters. If everything goes well, Owings will start at shortstop in a B game Thursday against Cincinnati at 10:30 am on a back field at Salt River Fields, Hale said. That game is scheduled to go seven innings. Hale has said he hopes to get Owings into a spring training game this weekend.
Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Angels
Salt River Fields, 1:10 pm
Probable pitchers: Diamondbacks — LHP Robbie Ray, RHP Randall Delgado, RHP Braden Shipley, RHP Jake Barrett. Angels — RHP Jered Weaver, RHP Drew Rucinski, RHP Matt Lindstrom, RHP Jeremy McBryde.