Thoughts from Maryvale
The D-backs won a pair of games today, 4-3 over the Royals in Surprise and 11-3 over the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park.
Can’t speak to what happened against the Royals, but here are a couple of things that came out of the game in Maryvale:
— Ian Kennedy is ready for the season to start.
The right-hander was impressive once again holding Milwaukee to a pair of runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“Kennedy was good,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. “He got better this spring from the first outing to the last.”
— It’s going to be hard to keep Jordan Norberto off this team.
I know, I know I thought as recently as the last few days that the team would almost have to start Norberto in the Minor Leagues to give him some additional experience. But the fact is he has outpitched the other competitors for a spot in the bullpen.
After missing a few days with some tightness in his elbow, he tossed a 1-2-3 inning against the Brewers. His ERA for the spring is 1.04.
“He didn’t miss a beat,” Hinch said. “We shut him down for a couple of days from pitching and he hit 96 on the radar gun so he looked fine to me. He’s very much in the mix.”
Clay Zavada will pitch Friday against the Cubs at Chase Field, but regardless, Norberto has really helped himself recently.
— Rusty Ryal certainly has made a case for himself.
Ryal was a triple away from hitting for the cycle Thursday and he raised his spring batting average to .288.
How the last two spots play out on the bench between Ryal, Tony Abreu and Ryan Roberts will be very interesting.
“He’s continuing to push to the end,” Hinch said of Ryal. “It’s a pretty heated battle there for the position players. Nobody is going to give on this one. We’ll just have to pull the trigger and make a decision.
Said Ryal, “It’s one of those things where you have no control over your situation you just have to do what you do and stay positive. I hope today wasn’t just the convincing factor in any sort of manner because I’ve put a lot of hard work in this spring extra that people don’t see. To be real honest with you I feel like I’ve done all that I can do as far as off the field stuff. My performance, it’s an opinion, it’s a decision they have to make. Today’s a positive, mark it down as a positive and go from there.”
— Hinch would like to see the offense pick it up.
Recently the D-backs struggled a little scoring runs after swinging the bats well earlier in camp.
“I’d like to be swinging the bats a little better heading into the season, but we’ll see,” Hinch said before they scored 11 against the Brewers. “Towards the end of spring, I don’t know if it’s a mental problem, or are we facing better pitchers, but on the optimistic side is we’re going to show up and be ready to go. Collectively as a group I’ve been happy with how we’ve swung the bats this spring. With where guys are individually heading into the season there’s a couple of guys I wish that were swinging the bats better, but there’s also the middle of our order has swung the bat very well.”
— OK, I lied. I’ll make one comment about the game in Surprise: You have to feel for Jeff Bailey.
The first baseman/outfielder came to camp mentioned as being on the outside of the competition for the final spot or two on the bench. He was told the other day that he was not going to make the club.
Thursday against the Royals, he was 3-for-3 to raise his average to .471.