Baseball season is officially back in swing as the Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers reported for their first day back for Spring Training on Wednesday.
Last season, the D-backs were near the bottom half of the league with a 4.86 team ERA, and the team had its own struggles over the course of a 60-game season. However, with a new year in store, the group is looking to amend some of their woes on the mound.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time,” said Manager Torey Lovullo. “…Personally I learned a lot. I think this team has digested what happened last year and they’re a little bit angry and eager to get things started and show what they can do.”
One of the biggest things to prove on the mound going into this year’s spring for the team is who is going to be the group’s closer.
It’s been a question looming going into camp the last few years, but after Archie Bradley was traded last season, the back end of the bullpen will once again be highlighted.
One of the D-backs late offseason acquisitions was veteran right-hander Joakim Soria, who holds a career 3.01 ERA over the course of his 15-year career, including a 2.82 mark last season with Oakland in 22.1 innings pitched. In his career, Soria has 223 saves.
Lovullo wouldn’t name the Opening Day closer on day one, but Soria is more than likely to be in the mix along with Stefan Crichton, who had five saves after the departure of Bradley.
“He’s done it for a long time,” Lovullo said of Soria and the possibility of naming him closer. “I’ve really enjoyed watching him from the other side. I had a couple of conversations with him, and still getting to know him is a priority to me.”
Former Arizona Wildcat Kevin Ginkel was also a high-leverage reliever for the D-backs in 2019, performing well with a 1.48 ERA in 24.1 innings of work before hitting a sophomore slump in 2020. He looks to return to form this year on the back end.
The D-backs first Cactus League game is on Sunday, Feb. 28 against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields.