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Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley shares his personal goals for 2020

The Republic | azcentral.com

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo stopped short of naming Archie Bradley his closer this week, though any outcome other than that likely means Bradley endured a rough spring.

Bradley finished last season in the closer’s role, posting impressive results over the season’s final three-plus months. From June 26 through the end of the year, he had a 1.47 ERA with 18 saves in 19 chances.

All indications are that Bradley enters camp as a heavy favorite to hold down the job.

“Whether he’s the closer or not — I know everyone’s going to want to know that through the course of the spring,” Lovullo said. “We’ll get to that answer, who our closer will be. But I really liked what Archie did last year and I think he’s going to pick it up this year.”

It’s hard to envision a scenario in which Bradley pitches relatively well this spring – that is, posts good results and demonstrates quality stuff – and isn’t awarded the closer’s job to open the year.

Bradley said he isn’t worried about his role but rather about winning, and he said his focus is to find a way to have a strong season from start to finish, something he did in 2017 but has been unable to repeat the past two seasons.

“I need to be able to put together two full halves,” he said. “I’ve put together a first half in 2018 and a second half in 2019. I’d like to put together a full 2020.”

Leake update

A fracture in his left wrist didn’t stop right-hander Mike Leake from throwing a 29-pitch bullpen session on Friday morning, although he did so without wearing a glove.

Leake remains hopeful about being ready in time for the start of the season, but Lovullo didn’t sound as overly optimistic about the situation as he normally does with players trying to return from injury.

“I’m not going to totally eliminate that thought,” Lovullo said, “but as I explained to him I’m not going to put him in a situation where he’s going to go out there and potentially hurt himself and take a step backwards. I have to make 100 percent certain he’s going to be able to go out there and execute and not get injured.”

Leake suffered the injury when he slipped and fell at home.

Short hops

• Left-hander Madison Bumgarner threw his first since camp officially started on Wednesday, and came away from it saying he felt better than he normally does this time of year but still not satisfied.

“I know not everything is going to be there like I want it to be,” he said. “But it’s still something you know is going to happen and you have to work through it and get everything dialed in.”

• Prospect Daulton Varsho, a catcher who saw time in center field at the end of the Double-A season last year, will log time in the outfield during big league camp, Lovullo said, though plans call for the majority of his reps to come at catcher.

Lovullo said: “How we sold it to him is, ‘We don’t know where your first big league appearance is going to be. It could be in the outfield; it could be behind the plate. Why not add some things to your tool belt to get you here as fast as possible?’”

Varsho runs well – he stole 21 bases last season – and was said to have looked good during his time in the outfield last year.

• Reliever Silvino Bracho, who underwent Tommy John surgery last March, is expected to open the season on the injured list as he works his way back from the injury.

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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