Notes: Leake (wrist) throws on back field

March 11th, 2020

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- continues to make progress, but it’s still uncertain when he will be ready.

On Tuesday, Leake, who is recovering from left wrist surgery, shined on the back fields of Salt River Fields with Robbie Ray, Héctor Rondón and Kevin Ginkel in a controlled game.

Leake pitched five innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits and striking out four. Ginkel, who had been experiencing arm fatigue, allowed one hit in a shutout inning. Ray allowed one run on three hits and two walks and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings, and Rondón allowed an unearned run, struck out three and walked one in 1 2/3 innings.

““I can’t say yes or no, but I don’t want to undersell what [Leake] has been doing to get to this point,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He is getting after it and challenging himself every single day to get the most out of where he is at. I respect that. I appreciate that.”

Leake, who has incorporated a tennis ball to help strengthen his wrist, has not played catch or participated in defensive drills. On Tuesday, he pitched from the mound behind a screen with a coach stationed next to him to catch the throw back from the catcher. Leake said he hopes to show he can catch a ball next week, and he is more concerned with swinging a bat than catching a ball.

“To me, it’s progressing,” Leake said. “I just need the mobility to kind of bend a bat around my wrist. I’ve been starting with a half bat, just feeling it out. Once I can get that mobility, that will tell us I’m ready.”

Ketel Marte, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Nick Ahmed were among the hitters to face the pitchers Tuesday in the game on the back field.

“Mike Leake seems like he is in midseason form, with being able to locate pitches and changing speeds and hitting each edge of the plate with all of his pitches,” Lovullo said. “Robbie had great stuff as well. It was fun for me to get out there and watch in an environment that got a little bit stiffer because of the players we sent over there to face those guys.”

D-backs address coronavirus concerns
There have been more fist bumps than handshakes in the D-backs’ clubhouse in recent days, but the team is doing its best to focus on preparing for the season amid the increasing number of coronavirus cases around the world.

Last weekend, Dr. Roger McCoy II and D-backs physicians met with Arizona players to discuss the virus and prevention.

“The biggest thing people say is to try not to panic, and you try to take a step back and assess the situation,” D-backs reliever Archie Bradley said. “At the end of the day, we are trying to keep ourselves clean and do what we are told to do right now.”

Said D-backs general manager Mike Hazen: “We are just following Major League Baseball’s protocol and advice. The expectation is that we are going to keep the health and safety of all of our employees and players in the forefront.”

Worth noting
gave up two runs on a pair of hits and struck out six in three innings against a Reds split squad in Arizona's 10-2 victory Tuesday at Goodyear Ball Park.

Clarke’s lone blemish was a two-run home run by Mike Moustakas in the bottom of the first inning. The right-hander walked Freddy Galvis to lead off the second and then struck out the next three batters. He struck out two of the three batters he faced in the third inning.

“I feel like the past two outings, I’m finally where I need to be mechanically,” Clarke said. “Pitches are starting to take shape compared to earlier in the spring.”

Josh Rojas, John Hicks, Trayce Thompson and Kevin Cron hit home runs for the D-backs.

Merrill Kelly, who last pitched Saturday against the Padres, will pitch in an intrasquad game Thursday.

Up next
The D-backs have a scheduled day off Wednesday and will resume play Thursday against the Brewers at Salt River Fields at 1:10 p.m. MST.