D-backs' Walker dominates again in final spring tuneupPosted: Updated:
Taijuan Walker ended his excellent spring training on a high note, pitching five scoreless innings to help the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Cleveland Indians 6-3 on Thursday night.
Walker struck out four and allowed four hits in the penultimate exhibition game for both teams.
Walker finished the spring with a 3.29 ERA, 32 strikeouts and two walks over 27 1/3 innings. He is on schedule to face the San Francisco Giants next Wednesday in Arizona's third game.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said he planned to announce the starting rotation after the game, though Zack Greinke is already penciled in as the opening day starter Sunday against San Francisco.
Lovullo also said there are a couple of roster spots left to decide in the bullpen. Silvino Bracho, Andrew Chafin and J.J. Hoover, three relievers in the competition, pitched in the same inning Thursday.
Walker got run support from Jake Lamb, who hit a wind-blown triple that drove in two runs in the fifth inning. Yasmany Tomas, who entered the game with one hit this spring, was hitless but drove in two runs.
The 2016 AL champion Indians couldn't score off Walker, but they did get another long look at outfielder Michael Brantley, who has been playing in consecutive games in recent days to get ready for opening day. Brantley is coming off right shoulder surgery last year. He had a hit and RBI.
Yandy Diaz, a 25-year-old rookie from Cuba who started at third base, was told he made Cleveland's major league roster before the game. Diaz is batting .444 in 19 games this spring, including Thursday's 2 for 3 and an RBI. His cause was aided by an injury to infielder Jason Kipnis, who could miss the first month of the season.
The teams will play for real next Friday when the Indians return to Chase Field for a three-game series.
The Diamondbacks announced that Sunday's season opener is sold out. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by former Phoenix Sun, Final Four hero with Duke and two-time NCAA champion Grant Hill. Diamondbacks opening day will coincide with Final Four events happening in downtown Phoenix.
Diamondbacks RHP Shelby Miller will pitch a simulated game on Saturday, which puts him in line to start next Friday against Cleveland.
Cleveland optioned infielders Erik Gonzalez and Giovanny Urshela to Triple-A Columbus, which meant utility man Michael Martinez made the opening day roster. Martinez is hitting .357 in 21 games this spring.
Indians: Kipnis is expected to be ready to play in three or four weeks as he returns from right shoulder inflammation. ... OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right shoulder) will begin the season on the 10-day disabled list. ... OF Daniel Robertson is out indefinitely after suffering a left hamstring injury in Tuesday's game.
Indians: RHP Travis Banwart pitches the exhibition finale for Cleveland on Friday night before the team heads to Texas to open the regular season.
Diamondbacks: Robbie Ray makes his final start of spring training when he faces the Indians on Friday. Ray has posted a 4.79 ERA this spring and is in the starting rotation.
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