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Lovullo to discuss personal catcher with Greinke

Bradley pushed back; Jones not yet set for Cactus League action
@SteveGilbertMLB
March 13, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On Tuesday night, John Ryan Murphy became the first D-backs catcher to be behind the plate for a second Zack Greinke start this spring, but manager Torey Lovullo cautioned against reading too much into that. All 33 of Greinke’s starts in 2018 came with Jeff Mathis behind

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On Tuesday night, John Ryan Murphy became the first D-backs catcher to be behind the plate for a second Zack Greinke start this spring, but manager Torey Lovullo cautioned against reading too much into that.

All 33 of Greinke’s starts in 2018 came with Jeff Mathis behind the plate, and with Mathis having departed via free agency, Lovullo would like to designate one catcher again to work with Greinke.

“I’ll probably sit down and start to talk to Zack here pretty soon about what he’s seeing and his sightlines,” Lovullo said before the D-backs' 5-3 Cactus League loss to the Rockies on Wednesday. “I want to do right for every player on this field, and I know that Zack is a creature of habit and he likes the same catcher. He has recently told me, ‘Look I’ll do whatever you ask for the good of this team.’

"And I appreciate that, but I want to reciprocate that and do all I can to help him. I don’t know at this point. I haven’t had a chance to see it necessarily through his eyes, but the more conversations I have with him, I’ll get down to that point quickly with him.”

All four of the D-backs catchers -- who are vying for three spots on the roster -- have had their chance catching Greinke.

Alex Avila has caught a bullpen session, while Carson Kelly has caught him in a live batting practice session as well as a Cactus League game. Caleb Joseph caught one of Greinke’s starts, and Murphy was behind the plate for a “B” game, as well as Tuesday night.

“I think everyone has pretty much gotten a look at him, and now it just adds up the way it adds up, based on how I’m structuring things two and three days out,” Lovullo said, of why Murphy got a second opportunity. “I did like the way they worked [Tuesday]. I know they are spending some time together between starts, and that’s a compliment to them and I’m sure all the catchers are doing the exact same thing with all the guys they’re going to be catching in the coming days.”

Bradley out
Right-hander Archie Bradley -- who is competing with Greg Holland for the closer’s role -- has a stiff neck, which will push back his next Cactus League appearance.

“He’s already in the middle of getting back on the field and getting ready to pitch again,” Lovullo said. “He might be absent for the next couple of days from games.”

Timeline for Jones
It’s not yet certain when newly signed outfielder Adam Jones will appear in his first Cactus League game.

Jones signed a one-year deal Monday, spent his first full day at the facility Tuesday, and the team has mapped out the rest of his week.

“He’s going to take coach’s [batting practice] today and tomorrow, get a baserunning program that’s going to get him on the dirt with spikes,” Lovullo said. “[He’ll] get with [coach] Dave McKay, and talk about some of the baserunning principles and ideas that we have here, continue to do outfield work, throwing program, and then in two days we will migrate him out to the backfields to get some live looks at some of the Minor League pitchers.”

Up next
The D-backs play host to the Giants on Thursday afternoon (1:10 p.m. MST) at Salt River Fields with Luke Weaver getting the start. Holland is also expected to make his fourth Cactus League appearance. The right-hander has also thrown in a “B” game.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.