SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs passed the halfway point in the spring Thursday and for general manager Mike Hazen, the more serious evaluations are just about to start.
“Early part of Spring Training I don’t put a ton of stock in necessarily,” Hazen said. “Guys are getting into physical shape more than anything else. The next couple of weeks will be a lot more telling.”
Here are some of Hazen’s early impressions on a variety of topics:
On Merrill Kelly, who has allowed six runs (five earned) in two innings over two spring starts after being signed out of Korea in December:
“In those types of situations, I think our job is to process and put into context all of that knowing that he’s coming over to a new league. He’s pitching in a different environment. We’re seeing a lot of good stuff. His changeup has been really good, fastball velocity has been really good, he’s getting his curveball down. We’re trying to learn him, catchers are trying to learn him as far as pitch mix and usage and things like that.”
“I think there’s going to be rocky roads in some cases ahead too. You don’t see the full gamut of what can happen in big league games, so we’re going to deal with those things. They’re both working their butts off. I think they both went into it with the right mindset, which is taking the challenge head on and believing in their ability to do it. I think that’s step No. 1. Hopefully in the next three weeks, with more repetition they’ll see more crazy things happen and become more comfortable with it. But so far, so good for both.”
On if left-hander Robbie Ray looks better this spring than last:
“I think so. I think his stuff is up a little bit. I think his strike throwing has been on point, but again, it’s Spring Training, it’s only been three starts, so we’ll see. We’ll know more in the next couple of weeks, but he looks really good so far."
On how the rotation has looked:
“I think we’ve seen some good strides in the rotation the last few turns through. [Zack] Godley, [Robbie] Ray, [Luke] Weaver, [Zack] Greinke’s obviously done very well, Merrill is obviously getting his feet underneath him. [Matt] Koch is throwing the ball really well, [Taylor] Clarke is throwing the ball really well. So, feel good there.”