NEW YORK – Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen offered only a boilerplate answer to questions about his job status and his potential interest in returning to work for the Boston Red Sox, who fired top executive Dave Dombrowski earlier this week.
“My focus is 100 percent on the Arizona Diamondbacks,” Hazen said, “and that’s where it’s going to remain.”
Though his name has been connected to the Red Sox in a variety of speculative reports this week, Hazen would not comment beyond that, choosing not to, say, emphatically state he had no interest in the job.
Of course, Hazen likely will continue to be connected to the job — regardless of what he says – until the Red Sox find a permanent replacement.
It would make sense for the Red Sox to have interest. Hazen has ties to the organization – he was Dombrowki’s second-in-command before taking the Diamondbacks’ job in 2016 – and has had success in his current role.
Moreover, the task facing the Red Sox – in essence, trying to remain competitive at the major league level while getting younger, more financially flexible and deeper on the farm – is the same one Hazen has worked to accomplish with the Diamondbacks over the past three years.
Hazen also would not comment on his contract situation. As of the beginning of the year, he was known to be entering the third year of the original five-year deal he signed when he was hired.
Hazen’s top assistants, Jared Porter and Amiel Sawdaye, both of whom began their careers in the Boston organization, also have been connected to the Red Sox job. Hazen said he fully expects them to get chances to run teams in the future.
“As they should,” he said. “They’re very well deserving. I think they do a phenomenal job. They’re very good at what they do. They’re great people. It’s coming.”
Right-hander Taylor Clarke says an adjustment to his delivery has helped him produce better fastball velocity and generally sharper pitches over the past two months.
Clarke said pitching coach Mike Butcher recommended he bring his front leg back further in his delivery, something that’s allowed him to better use his back leg to create momentum coming down the mound.
“I’m able to gather myself a little bit more and go towards the plate rather than being tall-and-fall with my arm lagging,” Clarke said. “I’m able to load up a little better and it kind of helped out not only fastball velo but everything has felt a little more in sync.”
Before the adjustment, Clarke averaged 93.1 mph with his fastball, according to FanGraphs data. Since, he has averaged 94.2 mph.
“It’s kind of a simple and easy tweak,” Clarke said, “but it’s paid good dividends.”
Clarke has seen limited work out of the bullpen in recent games – he hasn’t pitched since Sept. 1 – although manager Torey Lovullo said he was close to going to him on Sunday in Cincinnati.
–Right-hander Luke Weaver will throw up to 35 pitches or two innings in a rehab start for High-A Visalia on Friday, Lovullo said. He already has pitched twice in simulated games. This could be his final appearance before a possible return from the injured list, where he has resided since going down with elbow problems in late May.
–Right-hander Taijuan Walker will throw his second bullpen session on Friday, Lovullo said.
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