Pfaadt sharp, Henry has to 'grind' in latest rotation bid

March 5th, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rotation candidates and had mixed results when they piggybacked their way through the Diamondbacks’ 5-2 Cactus League loss against the Chicago White Sox on Monday.

Pfaadt started and gave up one run in two innings, and he left feeling pleased with the way that he is learning to pair his changeup and slider combination to give opponents a different look.

“We figured some things out,” Pfaadt said. “The slider is going to get better as we go. Something clicks every game, and that’s a win. Fastball location, I can do better getting ahead. At the end of the day, it’s a win if I feel good, and that’s all that matters."

Henry followed Pfaadt and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings, leaving when hit pitch count reached 56 in the fifth inning.

“It was a grind for him today,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “The tempo and the rhythm weren’t there. It was one of those outings when he got tested. He kept fighting the whole way. I don’t think it was a clunker by any means. He just couldn’t duplicate or find the zone and do the things that he has been doing up to this point.”

It was a slight hiccup for Henry, who had given up only one hit and one walk in five scoreless innings in his previous two appearances.

“Just didn’t execute to the level I was hoping to or expecting to,” Henry said. “That happens sometimes. If you are not executing pretty well, you’ll get knocked around a little bit. I feel like that is kind of what happened today.”

Henry gave up a double and a walk to his first two batters in the White Sox two-run third inning. In the fourth, the Sox pulled a double steal after a single and a walk. On the next play, one run scored on an dribbler back to Henry. He left after a strikeout and two singles in the fifth.

“I never step on a baseball field wanting to do poorly,” Henry said when asked if frustration summed up the day. “If that’s the case, then most times you walk off the field a little bit frustrated for sure. So, yeah, that’s a good word.

“With the right perspective, you can use that frustration as motivation. To show up and be extra focused on the little details tomorrow. To get everything you can out of every minute. Using that quote-unquote 'frustration' as motivation at this point in the season is probably the right approach.”

Pfaadt threw 32 pitches. After striking out Luis Robert Jr. to end a 1-2-3 first inning, Pfaadt gave up two hits and one run in the second inning. He was helped by left fielder Joc Pederson, who came in and to his left to make a sliding catch to turn a potential RBI single by Paul DeJong into a sacrifice fly.

Pederson later was tested with two more sinking liners, both of which he got to but could not hold on to. Pederson is expected to be used principally as a DH.

“I thought the breaks [on the balls] were clean, pretty good,” Lovullo said. “Angles were good. He just didn’t finalize the plays. He maybe didn’t close on them enough. He said the wind was a little bit of a struggle for him as well. I think in time, he is going to start to bring those in.”

Elvis enters the building

Elvis Andrus took ground balls on his first day in camp Monday and will get into games as quickly as possible without taking any health risks, Lovullo said.

“He’s played a very good shortstop,” Lovullo said. “It’s clear that he’s here to show us what he can do at shortstop and second base. We’re always looking to upgrade at every position.”

Andrus, who signed a Minor League deal with an invite to MLB Spring Training, is a candidate to back up starting shortstop Geraldo Perdomo if the Diamondbacks opt to give their No. 1 prospect shortstop Jordan Lawlar regular time in the Minors when the season begins.

Andrus, 35, has 347 stolen bases and a .695 OPS in 15 MLB seasons, the first 12 in Texas. He had career highs of 44 doubles, 20 homers and 88 RBIs with the Rangers in 2017, when D-backs bench coach Jeff Banister was his manager.

“He was a very good player who has done it at a high level,” Lovullo said. “Some of the metrics and numbers say he is still playing at that high level. He’s been on the big stage at the biggest moments and he’s performed.”

Andrus, asked to play second base for the first in his career with the White Sox last season, hit .208 before the All-Star break, but had a .305/.328/.473 slash line in 49 games after the break, primarily at shortstop.