Ziegler unfazed by trade talk, line drive to ribs

Brad Ziegler is unable to make a play on a ball that hit off his chest by Detroit's J.D. Martinez in the eighth inning Tuesday. Ziegler stayed in the game.


PHOENIX — Brad Ziegler had good cause to be distracted Wednesday. His name has been mentioned in trade talks this week, although there seems little chance he is going anywhere.

And after being struck in the rib cage by a line drive Tuesday, he was unable to pitch in the final game of the Detroit series. He was still in some pain, but at least he could chuckle about it.

He knows it could have been worse.

Ziegler suffered a skull fracture and spent six nights in an intensive care unit and another night in the hospital after being struck in the right temple by line drive while playing for High-A Modesto in Game 5 of the 204 California League playoffs. It was a remarkably similar injury to the one Brandon McCarthy suffered in 2012, although Ziegler did not require surgery. It was bad enough.

"I was on anti-seizure medication and blood thinner-type stuff to try to prevent hemorrhaging, but I never had to have surgery, thanks goodness," Ziegler said.

Ziegler remained on anti-seizure medication for six to eight months after that.

He was hurt in his third pro season, his first with the Oakland organization following a half-year of independent ball. The injury occurred so early in his career that he was still throwing over-handed. 

The major leagues were still a dream, but of course he wondered if he would even get to pitch next week, let alone last long enough to make 453 major league appearances and become one of the premier setup men in the game.

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"At that point, I was a little worried about survival," Ziegler said.

"At that time, big league ball was so far out of reach, it was more just, ‘Is this the end of my career, or am I going to get to keep playing for awhile?’ I didn’t know if I would get to the big leagues."

It was not the last time he was hit. Two weeks before being traded to the Diamondbacks in 2011, Ziegler was struck in the league by a ground ball from Miguel Montero during an interleague game.

"That’s a part of pitching. Guys hit the ball hard up the middle, and sometimes they get you," Ziegler said.

FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi earlier in the week reported Detroit inquired about Ziegler, but that the D-backs made it sound as if he were not available. D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall recently said Ziegler would be "impossible to replace."

Ziegler has been through this before, when the D-backs acquired him at the July 31 deadline in 2011. He views the process in a positive light.

"If you are traded, you are going to a team that wants you more," he said.

Trevor Cahill had little trouble with the right-handed hitters in the Detroit lineup, but he could not navigate through switch-hitters Victor Martinez and Andrew Romine and left-handed hitters Don Kelly and Alex Avila. The quartet was 5-for-7 with four runs and three RBI, all from No. 7 hitter Avila. Lefties are hitting .379 against Cahill this season.

50 — hits by David Peralta in his first 41 games, a franchise record. Stephen Drew had 40 hits in his first 41 games.

The D-backs were awarded the sixth pick in the second round of the competitive balance lottery Wednesday, the same round in which The lottery gave the 10 teams with the lowest revenues and the smallest markets a chance for one of six picks following the first round. After that, all of the lowest revenue/small market clubs plus those that were payees in revenue-sharing last season were entered into a lottery for the six picks following the second round. The D-backs had two picks in the second supplemental round in June, signing high school players Marcus Diaz ($1 million) and Isan Diaz ($750,000).

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