(3TV/CBS 5) - D-backs spring training 2019 was already going to have an odd feel about it with the absence of mainstays and former all-stars Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin and AJ Pollock, but it wasn’t anticipated that Zack Greinke’s name would also be on that list. Fortunately for the D-backs and their beleaguered fan base, unlike the others, Greinke will be coming be back.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Diamondbacks]
“He asked for a couple extra days, which I gave him,” said manager Torey Lovullo, who wouldn’t divulge the reason for his ace’s absence as D-backs pitchers and catchers opened spring workouts Wednesday morning.
Lovullo added Greinke gave him plenty of notice, threw a 40-pitch bullpen Tuesday and is healthy. The starting pitcher who led Arizona with 15 wins in 2017 is currently slated to be the fourth highest paid player in baseball this season with a 2019 salary of $32 million.
As for the pitchers and catchers that did take the field Wednesday, Archie Bradley had a crowd of photographers around him on the field and a crowd of reporters around him at his locker afterwards. Bradley’s evolved into the team’s unofficial spokesman and day-one questions almost immediately turned to the unpopular departure of Goldschmidt after an off-season trade to the St. Louis Cardinals.
“At the end of the day it was a business decision and I love Goldy and I want to thank him for everything he did,” said Bradley. “But it is time to move on and the guys that we got are good major league baseball players. It’s not like the guys we got some scrubs from St. Louis. We’ve got some guys who are going to help us win baseball games.”
Two of the players acquired in the Goldschmidt trade officially began their on-field D-backs careers Wednesday – catcher Carson Kelly and pitcher Luke Weaver.
Former ASU pitcher and Desert Mountain High School star Merrill Kelly threw a day-one bullpen session. Kelly is a candidate to join the starting rotation.
Starter Taijuan Walker Wednesday was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Walker is still recovering from Tommy John surgery last April.
The D-backs 2019 bullpen has been bolstered by the addition of veteran Greg Holland. Holland is a three-time all-star who won a world championship with Kansas City in 2015.
Overall, Lovullo was pleased and excited with his pitchers and catchers as spring training 2019 unfolded at Salt River Fields.
“Overall, I thought it was a really good, productive first day,” said Lovullo. “There’s that general anxiety everybody feels to get out there – that nervous energy. You’ve been waiting for this day – the introductions – getting everybody acquainted with each other. It’s been a long off-season and I’m excited to get back at it, and so are the guys.”