Diamondbacks insider Nick Piecoro and Jay Dieffenbach talk about the upcoming baseball season. The lineup appears to be solid. What about the pitching staff? Video: Cheryl Evans/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up three runs in five-plus innings against the Chicago Cubs. He believes he is making progress toward Opening Day. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Jorge L. Ortiz breaks down the key headlines to watch during the final week of spring training.
USA TODAY Sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale poses these questions that will be answered in the MLB regular season.
USA TODAY Sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Jorge L. Ortiz recaps the championship between USA and Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium.
USA TODAY Sports
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Shot Clock: Why isn’t Paul Goldschmidt playing? Will Cardinals draft QB Mitchell Trubisky? Kurt Warner also had a Super Bowl jersey stolen? The Shot Clock tackles the burning topics in Arizona sports.
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Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray gave up two runs in five innings, walking one and striking out six, vs. the Royals on Tuesday. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up one run in five innings against the Netherlands on Saturday.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller struck out eight in 3 1/3 innings vs. the Mariners but wasn’t efficient with his pitches.
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Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray gave up two earned runs — both on a first-inning homer — in four innings against the Brewers on Thursday.
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Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke comments on his side session to minor leaguers at Salt River Fields on Mar. 13, 2017. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox but came away sounding upbeat. Video: Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Right-hander Taijuan Walker struck out eight in four scoreless innings for the Diamondbacks on Friday vs. the Brewers.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke’s fastball was in the upper-80s on Wednesday at Salt River Fields.
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller lasted 2 2/3 innings against the A’s, giving up six runs, on Tuesday. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker gave up just one hit in three scoreless innings against the White Sox on Sunday, Mar. 5, 2017. (Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin, who is vying for a spot in the rotation, gave up two runs in three innings against the Padres on Saturday in Peoria.
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Diamondbacks right-handed Shelby Miller talks about his impressive outing vs. the Cubs. Miller struck out six in three innings.
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Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley tossed three scoreless innings in his second start of spring training.
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Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray was upbeat despite walking three in 1 1/3 innings on Wednesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down the story lines to follow as spring training heats up.
USA TODAY Sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker talks about his outing on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers in Surprise. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Here are some longtime favorites about America’s favorite pastime.
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The MLB is changing up the intentional walk in an effort to improve the pace of play.
USA TODAY Sports
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The Brewers by position: Bullpen
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USA TODAY Sports has released its projected win totals for the 2017 MLB season.
USA TODAY Sports
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USA TODAY Sports released its annual list of players to watch for in the upcoming season.
USA TODAY Sports
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about his frustration with the MLBPA, which he said rebuffed the league’s efforts to make any of a number of rules changes at Tuesday’s Cactus League Media Day at the Biltmore. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks’ Ken Kendrick discusses the team’s lawsuit with the Maricopa County Stadium District over over Chase Field maintenance costs at spring-training camp on Friday.
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and his new team’s foundation at Cactus League Media Day at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks had their photos taken on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 at Salt River Fields.
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Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses how difficult it is to win back-to-back championships in the MLB on Tuesday at Cactus League Media Day at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses how to prepare for this season in regards to overworking and injuries after last season’s championship run at Cactus League Media Day at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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The Arizona Diamondbacks hosted fans to celebrate the start of spring training and the 2017 season at D-Backs Fan Fest at Salt River Fields on Monday. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney tosses a bullpen session at Salt River Fields.
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There are several MLB teams looking for new stadiums, while at least two are happy with their old-school dwellings.
USA TODAY Sports
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Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker throws his first official bullpen session of spring training at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller tosses his first bullpen of the spring at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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Ron Gardenhire, Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach, annouced on Tuesday that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the team’s spring training complex at Salt River Fields. Manager Torey Lovullo also spoke. Video: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on what he sees in his team and pitcher Shelby Miller heading into the first days of spring training at Salt River Fields. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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D-Backs pitcher Archie Bradley, sporting facial hair that he has not shaved since October 31st, reports to spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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D-Backs skipper Torey Lovullo press conference at spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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D-Backs pitcher Patrick Corbin reports to spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley talks about the excitement of getting spring training started, saying “I couldn’t sleep last night.” Video: Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
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The Diamondbacks have faced tough seasons and payroll limitations, and it might cost them a beloved franchise player. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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Proliferation of young talent in the game provides an abundance of inexpensive options to stock a roster.
USA TODAY Sports
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Are the Arizona Diamondbacks right to sue Maricopa County over Chase Field? Columnist E.J. Montini says no.
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With the longest championship drought in American professional sports, the Cubs have seen a lot change since they last won the World Series, in 1908.
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What is in store for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017?
Zack Greinke on his spring start vs. Cubs
Key MLB story lines as spring training concludes
MLB’s regular season will answer these spring questions
USA wins its first World Baseball Classic title
USA Baseball, Trubisky to Cards, Kurt Warner’s stolen jersey
D-Backs’ Robbie Ray says he’s ready for start of season
Zack Greinke on his start vs. Netherlands
Shelby Miller strikes out 8 vs. Mariners
D-Backs’ Robbie Ray on spring start vs. Brewers
Zack Greinke comments on his throwing session
Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin after spring outing vs. White Sox
Taijuan Walker after latest dominant start for D-Backs
Zack Greinke on his diminished velocity in start vs. Mexico
Shelby Miller discusses latest start
D-Backs’ Taijuan Walker on his latest strong outing
D-Backs lefty Patrick Corbin after spring outing vs. Padres
Shelby Miller on his outing vs. Cubs
Archie Bradley on strong outing vs. Padres
Robbie Ray on his spring training debut
Spring training story lines to watch
Taijuan Walker throws two innings in spring debut
Some things about Spring Training season just haven’t changed…
MLB changing intentional walks for 2017
Just the FAQs: Brewers at bullpen
Projecting the 2017 MLB season
MLB’s 100 Names to Know for 2017
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on rule changes, MLBPA cooperation
Diamondbacks’ Ken Kendrick discusses team’s lawsuit
D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo on Goldschmidt, team’s core
Behind the scenes at Diamondbacks Photo Day
Cubs’ Joe Maddon on why it’s difficult to repeat
Cubs’ Joe Maddon on this season’s preparation
A look at Diamondbacks Fan Fest 2017
Closer Fernando Rodney throws bullpen session
Baseball stadiums on the way out or in danger of extinction
Taijuan Walker throws bullpen session at Salt River Fields
Shelby Miller throws bullpen session at Salt River Fields
D-Backs bench coach Ron Gardenhire diagnosed with prostate cancer
D-Backs manager Lovullo on getting started, Shelby Miller
D-Backs pitcher Archie Bradley talks about his beard
D-Backs skipper Torey Lovullo press conference
D-Backs pitcher Patrick Corbin reports to spring training camp in Scottsdale
Diamondbacks’ pitcher Archie Bradley: “New year. New team. New everything. We’re excited.”
D-Backs near crossroads with Goldschmidt
The best MLB lineup realistic money can buy
Montini: Diamondbacks’ lawsuit is one big error
Cubs, coffee and cars: How things have changed since the North Siders last won the World Series
Shelby Miller is walking around the Diamondbacks clubhouse with a “Dude, be nice” T-shirt. He insists the words have no significance but it does feel a bit like he’s talking back to the voice in his head.
It must be listening.
Four outings into spring training suggest the right-hander’s season is on a better trajectory than last year.
In two of his past three appearances, he struck out a combined 14 batters in 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run and four hits. He’s had a few bumpy outings, too, but the vibe around camp suggests the team is encouraged by his performance.
The great thing about baseball is the clean slates that accompany spring. An offseason has a way of dulling memories, triggering optimism. As awful as 2016 was, 2017 could be recorded as Miller’s comeback season.
As poised as Miller was in response to his struggles least season, as much as he tried to paint a picture of confidence, how could it not have weighed heavily?
These are the numbers fans remember: three, as in victories, and 4.35, as in the millions of dollars the team paid him last season. They think of the players the team gave up as part of the deal with Atlanta – No. 1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson and outfielder Ender Inciarte – and the Diamondbacks message of “we believe we can win now.”
How can that not sit inside your head?
Add to the mix a standout season in 2015 when he posted a 3.02 ERA and 171 strikeouts … and finished with a 6-17 record because the Braves were so bad.
That’s 29 losses in two seasons. To be tagged with that many has to sting one’s psyche.
Miller, 26, may not admit it.
Or even realize it.
Writer Robert Louis Stevenson referred to it as the house of many windows. “There we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passer-by to come and love us.”
It’s simple. A team gives up a lot for you. You want to please them. And no matter how thick-skinned you are, the knowledge of failure, and the constant reminder, from media to fans on message boards, hurts.
I respect the approach new manager Torey Lovullo has taken, saying he simply doesn’t care what happened last year.
Miller shouldn’t either.
It’s the best way to move on.
Sports fans love a good comeback story and they may be the most forgiving group in society when it comes to on-field failure.
If Miller can move on from this, they can, too.
The Diamondbacks were off Wednesday but Miller pitched against San Francisco Giants minor-leaguers so he would remain on his regular schedule.
His fastball was up to 97 mph and it has hit 98 and 99 this month. That pitch has looked much healthier this season.
Because of Miller’s struggles last season, many forget how promising he was in his first two years in St. Louis: 25 wins combined and ERAs of 3.74 and 3.02, respectively.
He created a lot of buzz.
Last year was not the first time he faced tough expectations.
After Miller struggled in Triple-A Memphis in August 2012, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote this:
“The Cardinals’ first-round pick and the 19th overall selection of the 2009 draft carries more promise than any organizational pitching prospect since Rick Ankiel. Able to reach Double-A Springfield before his 21st birthday and considered a legitimate possibility to help the parent club this season, Miller enters Sunday’s start chastened by a frustrating season of his own making.”
He rebounded that time with solid performances in 2014 and 2015.
This March feels different, too.
Last year during spring training, he didn’t record a strikeout until his third start. He acknowledged he was battling mechanics.
This season, the team seems pleased with his work ethic, his focus, and in most circumstances, his performance.
He feels the same way.
“As good as I’ve felt in spring training,” he said. “I’m throwing the ball as hard as I ever have.”
Lovullo sent a positive message to Miller early in spring training:
“What I can evaluate and what I do know is, when I’m watching his bullpens, they’re energized, they’re focused, they’re productive and my interactions with him personally have been very upbeat and realistic. So I think he’s in a really good place.
“What I think it’s taught him is it’s helped him to grow as a player, and young players need those moments, whether it be successful or hardships, and in this case, we know what he went through. I know it’s been a tough grind for him to get to this point. He wants to go out and prove himself and earn everything that he possibly can.”
He may just do that.
As long as he can tune out the voices in his head.