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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USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down the story lines to watch as baseball’s regular season begins.
USA TODAY Sports
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azcentral sports’ Dan Bickley discusses the state of the Arizona Diamondbacks as Opening Day approaches.
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Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller struggled with his fastball command Monday but says he’s ready for spring training to end. (Nick Piecoro/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?
Can the Chicago Cubs win it all, again?
Shot Clock: Questions surround D-Backs, Greinke
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller says he’s ready for the season
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
No matter how likable you are, nobody is going to like you 100 percent of the time.
“Believe me,” Fernando Rodney said. “I know of this.”
Rodney, the Diamondbacks’ new closer, lets out a hearty laugh as he throws on his cap and shapes it a handful of inches to the left in his trademark style. That’s one of the things some people don’t like about the 40-year-old Dominican. One of many.
Some are put also off by his antics on the mound, where he may repeatedly step on and off the rubber and shoot stares at the opposing dugout or suddenly start making loud and intimidating animal noises, like that of a screeching hawk or a snarling feral hound.
They don’t always particularly care for his bow-and-arrow routine, either, when he fires an imaginary arrow high into the sky after registering a save. He calls it the “La Flecha,” which is Spanish for the word “arrow” and is the name of a local village near his hometown.
You may not approve of all of Rodney’s quirky antics and you may not always like his approach, but you’ll love him if he’s pitching on your team and he records a truckload of saves. That is, after all, why the Diamondbacks signed him to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million plus incentives.
“If you play sports or you’re an artist, whatever you do – and maybe it could even be the police – you’re going to find some people who no like you,” Rodney said. “They don’t like how you walk. They don’t like how you talk. It’s the same way in baseball.
“Sometimes, they don’t like how you wear your hat, how you flip your bat, how you step off home plate and remove your batting gloves. But me? I’ve always been the same guy. I’m not going to change. I like who I am.”
He also likes where he is. Now on his eighth major league team since breaking in with the Tigers in 2002, Rodney has notched a career-high 48 saves twice (with the Rays in 2012 and the Mariners in 2014) and the hard-throwing right-hander made his third All-Star appearance just a year ago after a fabulous start with the Padres.
He registered 17 saves with a 0.31 ERA over his first 28 games in San Diego. But then he was traded to Miami in June and struggled in a set-up role with the Marlins, never really finding his grove. He thinks he can find it in Arizona, where he posted a 0.00 ERA in four Cactus League outings.
But what kind of stuff can a 40-year-old still possibly have left in his arm? Manager Torey Lovullo thought about that question for a full five seconds before answering.
“Unbelievable stuff,” Lovullo finally said. “I watch him wipe out hitters with a quality change-up. It’s set up by a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and that is a really impressive combination no matter what your age is.”
Rodney knew the Diamondbacks were a young team when he came aboard in December, but he was shocked when told Arizona finished last season as the youngest team in all of baseball with an average age of 26 years, 313 days.
“I didn’t know they were that young,” he said, widening his eyes. “That’s pretty young, man. But hey, we were all young once, yes? That’s good. There’s a lot of young guys around me and that means there is a lot of young guys who are going to continue to learn and have good careers in this game.
“We have enough older guys around, including me, who can help these young guys get better and better during the season. That’s baseball: You don’t know what’s going to happen. All I know is if we can compete in this division with our starting pitching, I think we will win a lot of games because we’ve got a lot of talent in here.”
More than a handful of younger players came up to Rodney during spring training to ask him for advice and to find out how he’s lasted this long in the big leagues. He shared with them everything he could and told them all that asking veteran players for help was one of the reasons he’s still pitching.
He wouldn’t be here at all, however, if it wasn’t for his father. Ulise Rodney was a fisherman in the Dominican Republic who taught his son the value of a hard day’s work and to keep pushing when life is busy dealing you setbacks.
“My father inspires me to be who I am today,” Rodney said. “I have the dedication to follow all the things he taught me and it’s helped me so much. He’s why I wear my hat this way, tilted like this to the left. That’s the side where the sun would also hit his face so I wear it that way in his honor.”
Rodney’s father died in 2002, three days before he was called up to the major leagues for the first time.
“I think of him all the time,” the son says.
There is both a serious and fun side to the aging closer. Sometimes, he’s all business and at others, he’ll be a motormouth who never stops clowning around.
“He’s a good teammate who keeps it loose and is always having fun,” said Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis, who played with Rodney last season in Miami. “That’s something you’ve got to have. You need a good mix of seriousness and there’s also a time to keep it loose and he definitely brings that side of it, too, so that’s good.”
“He’s a crazy guy,” Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta added, “but, you know, in a good way.”