Weaver on rocky 2020: 'Makes you stronger'

February 20th, 2021

The 2020 season was not a lot of fun for D-backs right-hander .

Coming off an injury-shortened 2019 campaign, he struggled so much early in the '20 season that the D-backs removed him from his third start after just three innings, even though he was pitching well, in an attempt to help build his confidence.

"I wouldn’t lie and say it wasn’t hard," Weaver said.

And while Weaver will forever look at his 6.58 ERA from last year with disgust, he's also trying to turn it into a positive by using it as fuel.

"Sometimes it can really beat a guy up," he said. "But I think you just learn from that. You take that, you drive it and use that as motivation. When someone can expose your weaknesses, it only makes you stronger. You hope to attack those. That’s what I’m doing right now. It’s as simple as that. It’s about going out there and showing there are no more weaknesses. Maybe tipping your cap and saying, 'Thank you, thank you for exposing them, because you’re not going to ever touch them again.'"

Weaver spent the offseason working on fine-tuning some mechanical things and adjusting the grip on his cutter so that it acts more like a slider that he can use to go along with his fastball and changeup.

"[A slider] opens up the fastball [and] changeup," he said. "It gives you more breathing room, a little bit more options. I’m just trying to get back to that."

And while his fastball averaged 94 mph last year and is a big pitch for him, his best offering is his changeup. In 2020, hitters hit just .227 against his change compared to a .313 average against his fastball. In '19, batters hit just .169 against the change.

"That’s been my best friend for a while now," Weaver said. "We’ve had a good relationship and I’m happy to have him in my life. Really just fine-tuning and making sure that it feels consistently there."

Going the distance
One of the changes due to COVID-19 this spring is that all Spring Training games through March 13 will be scheduled as seven-inning games.

The two teams, however, can agree to shorten the game to five innings or lengthen it to nine, as long as they notify Major League Baseball by 3 p.m. MST the day before. Spring games from March 14 onward will be scheduled as nine-inning games, but can be shortened to seven innings if both clubs agree and notify MLB by 3 p.m. MST the day before.

"I don't think it's going change so much for us, we're still going to play nine innings," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "And I'm sure there's going to be times when other teams might be working through and sorting through things where we might condense things, but you know the way we're setting it up right now, my conversations with [bullpen coach] Mike Fetters and [pitching coach] Matt Herges have been along the lines of us going nine innings."

Lovullo has gathered all the phone numbers for the Cactus League managers and plans to discuss things with them in advance.

Teams will have the flexibility to shorten innings if need be and re-entry of players will be allowed, as well.