Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up one run in five innings against the Netherlands on Saturday.
1 of 41
Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller struck out eight in 3 1/3 innings vs. the Mariners but wasn’t efficient with his pitches.
2 of 41
Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray gave up two earned runs — both on a first-inning homer — in four innings against the Brewers on Thursday.
3 of 41
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
4 of 41
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
5 of 41
Right-hander Taijuan Walker struck out eight in four scoreless innings for the Diamondbacks on Friday vs. the Brewers.
6 of 41
Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke’s fastball was in the upper-80s on Wednesday at Salt River Fields.
7 of 41
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller lasted 2 2/3 innings against the A’s, giving up six runs, on Tuesday. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
8 of 41
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)
9 of 41
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.
10 of 41
Diamondbacks right-handed Shelby Miller talks about his impressive outing vs. the Cubs. Miller struck out six in three innings.
11 of 41
Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley tossed three scoreless innings in his second start of spring training.
12 of 41
Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray was upbeat despite walking three in 1 1/3 innings on Wednesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
13 of 41
USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down the story lines to follow as spring training heats up.
USA TODAY Sports
14 of 41
Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker talks about his outing on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers in Surprise. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
15 of 41
Here are some longtime favorites about America’s favorite pastime.
16 of 41
The MLB is changing up the intentional walk in an effort to improve the pace of play.
USA TODAY Sports
17 of 41
The Brewers by position: Bullpen
18 of 41
USA TODAY Sports has released its projected win totals for the 2017 MLB season.
USA TODAY Sports
19 of 41
USA TODAY Sports released its annual list of players to watch for in the upcoming season.
USA TODAY Sports
20 of 41
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
21 of 41
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.
22 of 41
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
23 of 41
The Diamondbacks had their photos taken on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 at Salt River Fields.
24 of 41
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
25 of 41
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
26 of 41
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
27 of 41
Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney tosses a bullpen session at Salt River Fields.
28 of 41
There are several MLB teams looking for new stadiums, while at least two are happy with their old-school dwellings.
USA TODAY Sports
29 of 41
Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker throws his first official bullpen session of spring training at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
30 of 41
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller tosses his first bullpen of the spring at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. Nick Piecoro/azcentral sports
31 of 41
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
32 of 41
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
33 of 41
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)
34 of 41
D-Backs skipper Torey Lovullo press conference at spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
35 of 41
D-Backs pitcher Patrick Corbin reports to spring training camp in Scottsdale. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
36 of 41
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
37 of 41
The Diamondbacks have faced tough seasons and payroll limitations, and it might cost them a beloved franchise player. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
38 of 41
Proliferation of young talent in the game provides an abundance of inexpensive options to stock a roster.
USA TODAY Sports
39 of 41
Are the Arizona Diamondbacks right to sue Maricopa County over Chase Field? Columnist E.J. Montini says no.
40 of 41
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.
41 of 41
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
Wearing a white polo shirt and a Diamondbacks cap pulled low, Tony La Russa stood between two practice fields, where a pair of minor-league games were unfolding simultaneously. Glancing in front of him, La Russa talked about a catcher he likes with a nice-looking swing. He then motioned to the other field, where there was a third baseman he said might have a chance.
To many, La Russa’s presence at Diamondbacks camp this year is unexpected. Stripped of his powers atop baseball operations at the end of last year’s disappointing season, La Russa did what, it seems, few would have: He stuck around.
He says that, by and large, his spring has been like any other he spent with the organization. He watches players and teams and he evaluates them. He spends time with coaches and the front office. The difference is he no longer has the same responsibility.
And, on the surface, he seems no different as a result. He arrives at Salt River Fields early. He sits in on meetings. He watches batting practice, chatting with front office executives and coaches. And he watches the games, either on the back fields or in the main stadium, sometimes from the scouts’ section.
CACTUS LEAGUE: Coverage from azcentral sports and ASU’s Cronkite School
When he was removed as chief baseball officer, the Diamondbacks told him he was welcome back in another role. Many believe the club didn’t expect him to accept.
“I don’t know,” La Russa said when asked if he thinks he surprised people with his return. “I know I had made it clear to everybody, clear to the guys who were on our team that left and everybody that I talked to, that if the last year I was ever involved with the team we had the kind of results we got, I would have a tough time. It would haunt me. The easiest way not to be here was if somebody said they didn’t want me here. I was very sincere about that. I took the year personally and I wasn’t very good.”
La Russa had suggested during a radio interview late last season that it would be hard for him to return if Dave Stewart was fired as general manager. It was widely assumed the two were a package deal.
“He wasn’t the only one that left,” La Russa said of Stewart. “I think there were some good accomplishments. But the record last year – that’s what happens in this game. It could have been very easy for them to say, ‘Hey, we don’t want you back either.’ … The only way I wasn’t going to be a part of trying to get better this year was if somebody said we don’t want you.”
La Russa, whose title is now chief baseball analyst, seems to be blending well with the new regime. Manager Torey Lovullo said he’s enjoyed having La Russa around in spring – and that he’s looking forward to seeking his thoughts on his in-game decision-making once the season begins.
GM Mike Hazen speaks highly of La Russa’s presence, saying he is both a good listener and a valuable and forceful voice in the room. Hazen said La Russa offers a unique perspective, one the front office values, and he’s managed to do it despite his previous role. That is to say, based on the way La Russa has interacted this spring, there would be no telling that just six months ago he was the one in charge.
“I think anytime there is change there’s the potential for awkwardness,” Hazen said. “He’s handled it 100 percent professionally and there’s been none of that.”
La Russa said one of the benefits of his new role has been the time he’s spent on the back fields. He has grown more familiar with the player development staff and learned more about the club’s prospects. He expects to spend more time with the team’s minor-league affiliates during the season.
“You see young guys who have their dreams, you see them working,” he said. “For a guy who loves the game and gets excited about their dream coming true, I love it. I’m enjoying it.”
La Russa is regarded as one of the best and winningest managers of all time, a Hall of Famer known for his innovations. But if his time as a front office executive has at all harmed his legacy, he said he’s not concerned.
“I didn’t manage for that,” he said. “I managed to do the best that I could. And I’ve done the best I can here. So I don’t think about it. I just answer to myself that I’m doing the best I can and whatever happens, happens. Whoever evaluates, evaluates.”
- Center fielder A.J. Pollock had three at-bats as the designated hitter in a camp game Monday, his first action since tweaking his groin on March 12. He was hitting but not running the bases. “So that felt a little awkward,” he said. “I would swing and take it back to the dugout.” But Pollock said he felt good, and Lovullo said Pollock will play again Tuesday, take Wednesday off and possibly return to Cactus League action on Thursday. Pollock expects to be ready for Opening Day.
- The Diamondbacks optioned right-handers Braden Shipley and Matt Koch to Triple-A Reno and reassigned right-hander Keyvius Sampson and outfielder/first baseman Jason Pridie to minor-league camp.
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or nick.[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.