Part of the equation is considered filled.
With spring training games about to begin, Diamondbacks’ manager Chip Hale told reporters Friday he has a strong idea of who his opening day starter may be on April 6 against the San Francisco Giants in Chase Field. That’s only a small segment of the overall pitching dilemma. In reality, Hale actually has several openings in the rotation.
Yet, that serious discussion on the pitching staff in general and the rotation in particular is nearly upon us.
At the same time, Hale said is he uncertain regarding the amount of pitchers he would like to carry as well as the composition of his team.
That would be the determination of the number of infielders, outfielders and catchers on the eventual 25-man, opening day roster.
In consultation with general manager Dave Stewart and Tony La Russa, the team’s Chief Baseball Officer, Hale said that camp is only a week old, and the evaluation process just commenced.
“Ideally, I would like to carry 12 pitchers, but that’s not set in stone,” Hale said. “If we carry 13, that guy may be on his way to (Triple AAA) Reno.”
The “x” factor, regarding the amount of pitchers, will be the readiness of those who recently had Tommy John surgery. In the clubhouse at the moment, six have undergone the procedure and Daniel Hudson had two Tommy John surgeries. Save Hudson, Bronson Arroyo, Patrick Corbin, David Hernandez, Matt Reynolds and Andrew Chafin have all undergone the procedure.
Two relievers, Hernandez and Reynolds, who have contributed in the past, could be ready to rejoin the team. Reynolds has been given the “green light” to throw at a competitive level and Hernandez could be ready sometime in May. Chafin’s procedure took place in 2010 while pitching for Kent State University. Arroyo, in mid-June, and Corbin, at the conclusion of spring training, each went down last season.
“It’s possible that Hudson, Reynolds and Hernandez could be on the team all at the same time,” said Stewart. “Hudson could end up as a starter, but we will be careful. It’s all about how we handle each one.”
Another issue regarding roster composition could be the use of players in defensive roles.
With movement to right field this season, Mark Trumbo could be lifted in late innings for defensive purposes. Upon further review, decision-makers say that will not likely happen because Trumbo is more comfortable in right than in left field, a position he played last season.
“I talked with (Angles’ manager Mike) Scioscia and he told me that Trumbo is a much better fit in right,” Stewart added. “I think it’s unfair to judge Trumbo on what he did in left field.”
For now, any discussion of who will play where and numbers of infielders, outfielders and pitchers on the team when the Diamondbacks break camp remains moot. After all, there is a full slate of spring games to be played, and execution in these contests will determine the final numbers game.
“I’m excited to see the guys under fire,” Hale smiled. “We still have a few more things to put in place and glean the players’ response. I’m anxious to get it going.”
OPENING DAY PITCHER
After workouts on Friday, Hale said left-hander Andrew Chafin will start in the Diamondbacks’ initial game of the spring next Tuesday afternoon against Arizona State University at Salt River. Game time is set for 3 p.m.
From that point, Hale gave no indication who will follow Chafin to the mound, nor the starters and other pitchers against the Rockies, A’s and Mariners for the remainder of games next week.