A pitcher can throw all the bullpen side sessions he wants in spring training. It isn’t until he steps on the mound for the first time in a spring-training game that the real process begins.
In Diamondbacks camp, hard evaluations are being made every day – whether a pitcher or a position player is participating in a game or not. That being said, new manager Torey Lovullo prefaced one of his team’s first Cactus League contests by saying he isn’t against giving his athletes a mulligan or two until they hit a rhythm.
“Yeah, you’re battling a couple of things,” he said. “Maybe it’s your first outing. You’re getting familiar with the mound, you’re getting familiar with the situation of facing a hot hitter. You’re probably battling a little bit of nervousness.
“Repeating the delivery is kind of a thought and as you get into your outings, all of those things slowly become a second thought. … I think it’s probably two or three outings in when guys really start to put it in automatic.”
Those words probably come as a relief for Diamondbacks right-hander Braden Shipley. His Cactus League debut last Sunday was a rough one. His second pitch against the Rockies was teed up for a blast over the center field wall at Salt River Fields by Charlie Blackmon. He walked the second batter, D.J. LeMahieu, and followed that with an errant pick-off throw to first base.
Shipley left after 1 2/3 innings having allowed three runs on three hits with a walk and one strikeout.
“That’s exactly what it was,” Shipley said.
To read more of Bob McManaman’s story, click here.