Thursday game notes
Here are some notes from the D-backs 11-1 loss to the Rockies in the Cactus League opener Thursday at Tucson Electric Park:
SLOPPY PLAY: The D-backs didn’t look like a team that had spent extra time on fundamentals and team defense with some lapses in the 11-1 loss to the Rockies.
“You have a sun ball, you have a misplay on a ball back to the pitcher,” Hinch said. “We couldn’t close out innings, they scored a lot of two-out runs. So in the context of the game they did a lot right. In the context of how we did, it’s Day One and I’ll look at some good things and a couple of things we’ll address tomorrow.”
CUT ME: Starter Billy Buckner allowed a pair of first-inning runs, but the right-hander had an impressive cut fastball on the day. Buckner said he threw four or five of them and got swings and misses on every one.
“I thought he rebounded pretty well after a rough start,” Hinch said. “He just couldn’t get out of the first inning, but he bounced back with a nice inning in the second inning which showed me a little something. Pitch down and pitch to contact are the two things that I would take away from today [for him].”
IMPRESSIVE: Reliever Leo Rosales, who is competing for one of the final bullpen spots, got three comebackers in the ninth inning.
All three of the outs came on his signature changeup.
“I was just trying to locate down in the zone,” Rosales said. “They were swinging the bat today so it was important for me to pound the zone at the knees.”
Rosales is out of Minor League options and would need to be placed on waivers if the team tries to send him to Triple-A Reno at the end of the spring.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Hinch plans on playing shortstop Stephen Drew and newly-acquired second baseman Kelly Johnson together as often as possible this spring to help them get comfortable with one another.
“Obviously there’s the feeds and turns, communication throughout the game on who has the bag and learning any odds and ends or quirks,” Hinch said. “Mostly it’s the turns and the tweener balls up the middle that both can get to, popup communication, things like that that are very easy to talk about in a clubhouse, but then when game speed picks up and instincts take over that’s when you see guys that haven’t played together. Timing of when to get the ball to each other on double plays is probably the most significant play that needs to be practiced. You can do all the drills you want until the game speed that’s where you really find out.”
12 AND 13? STAY TUNED: Hinch said he had not decided yet whether the team would carry 13 position players and 12 pitchers at the start of the year.
“I think that’s a good question at the end of camp,” Hinch said. “One of the advantages we have is that almost all the guys that are in these competitions have [Minor League] options so the roster flexibility at the end of camp will be pretty good.”
HUSH HUSH: Unlike past years, the D-backs will not announce starting lineups a day or two in advance. Third baseman Mark Reynolds and first baseman Adam LaRoche, though, are expected to start Friday.
FRIDAY PITCHING: Dan Haren will start against the Cubs. Wes Roemer, Clay Zavada, Jordan Norberto, Bryan Shaw, Esmerling Vasquez and Aaron Heilman are also scheduled to pitch.
SATURDAY PITCHING: Edwin Jackson makes his Diamondback debut against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Others slated to see action include Bryan Augenstein, Kyler Newby, Jose Marte, Roque Mercedes, Blaine Boyer and Juan Gutierrez.